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What Is The Difference Between Bond and Bail?


Bonds and bail are an integral part of the justice system that can often be confused in the unfortunate event someone is forced to become familiar with them. In short, the two are similar but different in nature. Bail is not only the amount owed to have a temporary respite of freedom before the trial but also includes the conditions that are meant to get that person to the trial. Bond is given by the bondsman to make good on bail if the accused does not show up for their court appearance. In either case, the use of any of the following can be used as collateral or be used as an assurance for a court date:

  • Property
  • Vehicles
  • Valuables
  • Saving 
  • Investments

Bail bonds are calculated by multiple factors and ultimately determined by the state. Such factors include if the defendant has a recent criminal record if he or she has any ties to the community the crime has been committed in. The criminal record will explain the likelihood of whether the offender will be remorseful and the likelihood they will be a repeat offender. In addition, if the accused has connections within the community then they have a greater chance of attending due to being better known.

How long do you stay in jail if you can’t pay bail?

The assumption in the American justice system is that a person is innocent until proven guilty. Bail is meant to reinforce that, making it helps a person put their matters in order and help maintain their life or the lives of that person’s family. That is also why someone can pay a person’s bail on their behalf or the defendant can accept the services of a bail bondsmen for assistance. 

Under the assumption that you are charged and cannot make bail, you will be in the process of “remand detention.” In the case the judge decides you may not show up for your court appearance, you will more than likely wait in jail until the date arrives. It should also be noted that there are two types of detention, physical and judicial. Physical remand is the amount of time the defender is in police custody while judicial remand is when the person is sent to jail. When a bail bond is not used, the accused will remain in jail until their court date. When that depends on the schedule of the judge and the severity of the crime.

How much does a bail bond cost?

Depending on the state, the cost of a bail bond can differ. Pennsylvania is defined by ten percent at the first one hundred dollars and then a set percentage of up to five percent depending on the bondsmen. The process often includes a check of the amount in question plus a percentage as payment and assurance for the bail bondsman. The bail bondsmen can be seen as a third party between an individual and the justice system. They assure the system that the individual is reliable for the bail and also the court appearance. In that case, the individual in question can get their situation in order before a court date outside of jail and the justice system is satisfied that they are reliable. 

Throughout the process, the court is the holder of the money that accounts for bail. Whether it’s out of pocket, through a family member, or bail bond the result is the same. In the case that the person shows up for the court appearance and a resolution arises, the person will get much of the money back. When a bail bond is used in this case, the bail bondsmen receives a small percentage. In the unfortunate case the individual does not show up for the scheduled court appearance, the money is used as collateral.


There is not exactly a general amount of time it takes for bail or a bail bond to go into effect and see the person free from jail until their court date. Regardless if it’s a large bail bond or average priced, the time can be anywhere from half an hour to twenty-four hours. The two for certain factors that can be measured in the process is when you are fast in making bail and filling out the paperwork. In terms of someone else bailing out the person destined for a court date, the length of time to make bail can be cut due to the former not being bogged down by the process. In the case that a person, friend, or family not having enough money to make bail, there is a solution. Bail bondsmen have a step by step process that will walk you through the situation and help your family member through the process. Through the bail process, the final step is always that of bail bond exoneration. At the end of each court process, all bail bonds are exonerated by means of resolution or a guilty verdict. This does not mean a full legal exoneration of the person due to that it only applies to the bail aspect of the case. Furthermore, it does not wipe away the debts accrued by the person in question, only the option to pay bail. At this point, if the person had paid bail they are allowed a return of the money or the agreed-upon amount when in an agreement with a bail bondsman.