Understanding The Different Types Of Bail


If the charges filed against you are minor and bailable, then choose to post a bail rather than spend a night in prison. After your bail has been posted, you can walk out of prison until your scheduled court appearance. However, there are factors that you need to take into consideration before you post a bail. For one, you need to consider the bail amount. Two, you need to consider the type of bail.

Bail Amount

The bail amount is oftentimes predetermined. However, the amount may be affected by your crime, the severity of your crime, the circumstances, and your local state laws. Generally speaking though, the bail should be something that is reasonably necessary to prevent the offender or the suspect from running. Unfortunately, there are some judges who place an impossibly high amount of bail to keep the offender or the suspect in jail until such time that the case is over. This is usually done for serious crimes involving drugs and murder, and it is usually given to repeat offenders, parole violators, and people who skipped bail.

Five Common Types of Bail

There are five common types of bail.

If you have the money for it, then choose the most common type, which is the cash bail. You pay for the full amount of your own bail with your own money. The court accepts cash, checks, and in some cases, even credit cards.

The next most common type of bail is the surety bond. This is usually chosen by those who cannot afford to pay their own bail. In this type of bail, a friend or one of your family members gets in touch with a bail bondsman who will post the full amount of the bail and then charge his client, the friend, or the relative a 10% premium. The bail bondsman will also ask for collateral – be it a car, a property title, or even jewelry. This 10% will be his fee for posting the bail on your behalf. If you skipped bail, then the bail bondsman will have to pay the court the entire amount, but since he holds collateral, then there’s less risk for you fleeing.

Property bond is the type of bail wherein you hand the court a property that you own. This will serve as your bond. The court will get a lien or a legal claim on your property that totals the amount of your bail. If you failed to appear in court, then the court has the right to foreclose your property to recover the bail.

Another type of bail, although less common, is the cite out or release on citation. In this type, the police officer will simply issue a citation ordering you to appear in court, but he won’t book you. This is usually given to first-time offenders who committed a very minor crime and are not considered a flight risk.

Finally, you have release on own personal recognizance type of bail wherein the judge will release you without paying any bail. Just like the cite out, your only responsibility is to show up for the court dates. Again, this is also usually given to people who’ve committed a very minor offense and are not considered to be a flight risk.


Jennifer Dallas writes for a California bail bonds agency. Through her articles, she hopes to be able to educate people more about bail, the types of bail, how to post bail, etc. However, she wants to emphasize that posting a bail doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re free of your crimes.

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