Here in the United States there are multiple different forms of bail that can be used. The most common forms of bail include the following:
- Recognizance – When an individual is released on recognizance, the individual makes a promise to attend court at the given date and time. This is also known as an unsecured appearance bond. The individual also agrees to not engage in any illegal activities during the time that he or she is released and waiting for their court date. A dollar amount for bail is still set by the courts, however, the amount does not have to be paid by the defendant unless he or she defies the courts.
- Citation release – This type of bail is usually issued immediately after arrests. With citation release, the arresting officer issues a citation to the individual informing he or she that they have to appear in court at an appointed day and time. With this type of bail, no monetary security is taken.
- Cash – This type of bail is usually only provided on a “cash only” basis where the court will only accept cash. Cash bail requires that the entire bail amount be paid in full with cash only. The courts will then hold the money until the trail has been completed. Generally speaking, cash bonds are ordered by the courts for the following reasons: the defendant is believed to be a flight risk, the defendant has failed to appear to prior court dates, or the court has issued a warrant for unpaid fines. Anyone, including the defendant, can post a cash bond. After the defendant has appeared in court, the full cash amount will be refunded. If the bond has been posted by the defendant, any outstanding fines will be deducted from the amount returned.
- Surety Bond – A surety bond is when a bail bondsman posts the full bail amount for the defendant. The bail bondsman is paid a premium of usually 10 percent for them to post the bail. In the event that the defendant were to skip court, the bail bondsman would lose the full bail amount, the person who hired the bail bondsman would then be responsible for paying them back the full amount.
- Property Bond – With a property bond, the individual under arrest or the person acting on his or her behalf would offer up real property such as land or a home as bail. The property is required to have a value at the very least equal to the amount of bail. If the defendant were to “skip bail” and not show up for court, the property would then be foreclosed on to recover the bail amount.