What is a Bail Bond?

A Bail Bond is basically a promissory note made by a person, agency, or corporation who become a surety and pledge money in exchange for the promise that the person in question will show up to their court date. The people usually in charge of these type of exchanges are called either bail bondsman, bail bond agents, or bond dealers. Either working by themselves or through an agency. The bailed person or someone they know pay the bondsman a percentage of the total bond amount. In exchange for assistance with getting people released from jail and they make some guarantees to make sure that person will show up for court. If the person doesn’t show up to court the bail bond agent or surety has 180 days to retrieve that person or else they have to provide for the full amount of the original bond.

Most people do show up to their court hearing. The ones who do not are usually always caught, whether by the bounty hunters working for the agency or by law enforcement officers. Skipping court is usually one of the worst decision that people can make during those situations. The bonds agency will take all proper precautions to make sure that they aren’t on the hook for the full bail amount. The bondsman have financial incentives to get the person to their court hearing and law enforcement have the main focus of enforcing the law. People who skip court will usually have a harder time getting someone to bail them out in the future. Not exactly wise to bite the hand that provides help.


The history of bail bonds actually goes back thousands of years. Clay tablets from an ancient city around 2750 BC have descriptions for surety bail bond agreements. Those agreements allowed for citizens to be released from jail by having a middle party pay and promise for the former imprisoned to show up to the hearings. Otherwise, the middle party would forfeit some of their property to the courts. Our bail bond system works in the same fashion. The overall system is similar, though innovations have been made in other ways.

Bail Bonds these days are primarily used in American states, which is very much needed considering how many people are imprisoned in our country.  Without this crucial assistance, most of those people would be kept in jail until the court hearing. Sometimes that can be quite a long stretch of time. Our founding fathers wanted to protect future generations by assuring bail bonds through sureties and also guaranteeing against excessive bail. That’s why most states and judges set a standard bail amount that will be level to the assumed charges.


These days some states and local governments have tried to change some laws and even amendments to the constitution to give more power to judges when setting bail amounts. The problem with this is the judgment will be on the individual judge, sometimes for better, other times for worse. The system we have isn’t perfect, nothing is, but it does provide help to many people who need the helping hand.