You’ve likely seen plenty of TV and movies where the accused is standing in front of the judge waiting to find out if they can get out on bail. You’ve maybe even heard someone getting released on their own recognizance.
On the other hand, you’ve likely heard about the need to pay bail. Sometimes those bail amounts come with a very high price tag, even one that most people could ever afford to pay.
Paying the bond yourself means you’ve paid a personal bond, coming from their own resources. But if the accused can’t swing a high bail, they will often seek help from a bail bond service.
Read on to learn more about this terminology: bail, personal bond, and bail bond and how they are different.
Understanding the Bail Bond Process
Before taking a deep dive into how personal bonds and bail bonds are different, it will be helpful to better understand the bail bond process.
When a person’s arrested, they are likely taken to the local police department where their arrest gets recorded. They’re fingerprinted, photographed, and booked.
Often during this period of time, the accused may be questioned by authorities if they’re involved in an investigation.
For very minor offenses, sometimes there is a pre-established bond amount set. Yet, in most cases, it’s necessary for the accused to be formally charged by a judge. This is when they might also seek to get bail to be released from jail.
A judge will consider what the crime is, what danger releasing the accused might be for others. The judge will also consider the criminal history of the accused and how likely they are to be a flight risk.
The idea of paying bail is to enforce that the accused will return back to court for the appropriate court hearings. If the judge deems it appropriate, then bail will be set.
Then it’s up to the accused whether they’re able to pay the bail themselves or need the assistance of a bail bonds service.
Only occasionally is someone is well known enough that they’re released on their own recognizance. This means they are so well known and don’t pose what the court views as a danger to others or a flight risk, so they’re released based on being well known.
Bail Vs Bond
Now that you understand the process better, it’ll be easier to understand how the terms bail and bond are different. Although many people use the terms synonymously, they’re not the same.
Bail is the amount of money a court names that must get paid before a person accused of a crime can be released.
Bail is not part of a consequence for the crime for which they’re accused. It simply ensures that the accused will agree to abide by certain conditions and return to court when they’re expected.
As is often the case, most people who have been locked up are unable to come up with the funds to pay the bail money. They don’t have the cash, a credit card, or a large sum of money to pay bail.
This is where a bond comes into play. A bond is what’s paid on behalf of the accused by someone else, usually a bail bond company.
What Is a Personal Bond?
Now, we can revisit the idea of a personal bond vs a bail bond.
A personal bond is when the accused has enough capital to pay the bond themselves. This could also be true if a friend or a loved one paid their bail from personal resources.
The court’s thinking is that you’re highly likely to show up for your hearings when you’re supposed to if you have put your own cash on the line to get released.
A personal recognizance bond is also a type of personal bond. It means the person is being released based on who they are. They, of course, must agree to also remain out of trouble and appear in court when expected.
What Is a Bail Bond?
When someone is in jail and needs help to pay the bail, they will often seek the help of a bail bond.
The bail bondsman will provide a surety bond and act as co-signer on the bond to get the accused released from jail.
Each bail bondsman is different but typically will charge a small percentage of the bail amount upfront to provide the surety bond.
The bail bonds company pays a percentage of the bond to the court. But if the accused doesn’t show up for their required court dates, the bail bonds company could be required to pay the full bond.
The bail bondsman will have a vested interest in making sure the accused shows up when they’re supposed to.
Understanding the Difference Between an Unsecured Bond and a Secured Bond
An unsecured bond is one where the accused is released by just signing that they agree to appear when expected.
A personal recognizance release would be an unsecured bond. There was no money offered to secure the release of the accused.
A secured bond means some money, either from the accused or from the bail bondsman, was paid to secure the release of the accused. Of course, the money acts as insurance that the accused will appear back in court.
Get the Help You Need From Our North Carolina Bail Bond Company
Whether the accused pays a personal bond or surety bond through a bonds person, the bail money acts as security that the released will follow the agreement of their bail.
If you need help making bail for someone you love who’s been locked up, we can help. Contact us today to request a free consultation to discuss your bail needs.