You, or someone you love, have just been arrested and taken into custody. You are fingerprinted and your mugshot is taken by the police. You know you will have an opportunity to have your day in court. However, there can be days, weeks, months, even years, between an arrest and an opportunity to defend yourself against the crime you have been charged with. The next step is to go in front of a judge to see if it is possible for your to wait for your trial outside of jail. This is when bail and bonds come into play.
The terms bail and bond are often used interchangeably, leading someone to believe they are the same thing. While they are often used to mean the same thing in everyday conversation, they are different.
What is Bail?
Bail is a cash payment made by the defendant to the court. At the time the payment is made, the defendant makes a written agreement to reappear in court as needed until their case is closed. If the defendant makes good on this promise the bail money is returned to the defendant at the end of all court proceedings.
What is a Bond?
In a situation where a defendant is unable to pay cash bail, the defendant requires someone to cosign a bond. The bond is a promise that the bondsman will pay bail if you fail to appear in court. In Pennsylvania for example, Luzerne County bail bonds are accepted in lieu of a cash bail payment. The opportunity for bond allows more defendants to await trial from the comfort of their own homes.
Should I Post Bail or Bond?
Consider contacting a qualified attorney to help you decide whether it is best for you to post bail or post bond. Whether you are the defendant or you are helping someone who has been arrested, you probably have many questions about the best way to proceed. A qualified lawyer can help you decide which option is best, whether for you or someone else.