List of Common Terminology for Bail Bonds

Understanding the process of bail is best done before that time when a person and their family are going through the stress associated with being arrested. After the arrest and processing by the police, the accused will have to face a judge. The judge will decide whether they will be granted bail and at what amount.

At this point, the accused or someone on their behalf will contact a bail bondsman, who will work with them to meet the court requirements for release. This article covers the key terms everyone should know before you or someone you know needs services.


Money is posted in order to be released from custody until the time that the court orders them to appear. The money posted is not fine. It is used as a means to make certain they will return to court.

Bail Condition

When released, the accused may be required to agree to certain conditions. These conditions may include things like not communicating with a particular person or staying in their residence at specific times. Failure to follow these conditions may lead they’re being returned to custody.


If the amount set by the court cannot be paid, financial assistance may be required from a company that can guarantee the full amount with the court. The accused typically pays 10%. The company will post a surety bond with the court for the full amount. If all appearances are made when required the debt is dissolved and the company keeps the 10%. If the defendant fails to appear, the court may require the full amount to be paid.


Assets or property used to secure a loan. A failure to appear ruling by the court may result in the forfeiture of the assets and property posted.


A person who stands accused of crimes by a court.


When someone is released and either fail to appear when ordered to or does not meet a bail condition, the court may order that the full amount be paid.

Bond Premium

This is the amount charged to obtain the release of the person. The bond premium is typically 10% and is usually not refundable.

Withdrawal of Bail

A court may decide to not allow someone to be released. Or, they may release someone and then decide to not allow them to remain released. Withdrawal of bail means denying the opportunity, either immediately after the person is in custody or after they have already been released.

Bond Indemnitor

This is the person who is financially responsible for bailing someone out of custody. The bond indemnitor is the person signs the contract. If this person posts collateral and the defendant does not appear when required, they may lose the collateral.

Bail Bond Surrender

When a co-signer has a change of heart they can ask for a bail bond surrender. They no longer want to be financially responsible. Typically, a bail bond surrender happens because of additional financial strain and concern about asset forfeiture if the accused does not appear in court when ordered to.

Failure to Appear

A legal matter in the courts involves several phases. Some of these, particularly the trial, require the presence of the accused. Hearings and trial dates are publicized and notice is given when to appear in court. If they fail to appear, they may be considered to be violating a bail condition.

Bail Bondsman

Someone who will provide financial services to satisfy court demands in order to release individuals charged with a crime, before a trial. A bail bondsman is usually licensed by the states they operate in.


Someone who is actively avoiding capture by the police or other authorities after being charged with a crime. A fugitive is also someone who has been released but does not follow conditions and evades police and those contracted by the bond company to locate them.