BAIL TERMINOLOGY

  • Bail : A dollar amount set by the court. A financial incentive to guarantee that the accused will appear for trial.
  • Bail Agent :A State Licensed Agent, usually representing an Insurance Company, that is authorized, by the court to write Bail.
  • Bail Bonds :A written document or contract with the jail/court, signed by the 'Surety' to secure the defendants release from custody; and to guarantee his/her appearance in court. A 'Power of Attorney' authorizing the Bail Agent to sign for the defendants release from jail.
  • Co-Signer :A person that will both personally and financially guarantee the defendants appearance in court to the Bail Agent; usually a friend or family member. The guarantee is for all court appearances; until the accused has fulfilled all of their court obligations.
  • Collateral : Something of value posted with the Bail Agent to secure the Bond; usually cash or property. All collateral is released once the defendant's case has been exonerated.
  • Exoneration : When the Surety Company and the Co-Signer are released from the Bail Bond Guarantee; usually when the defendant is sentenced. The case must be complete, either by sentencing or re-arrest of the defendant on the same case.
  • Failure To Appear (FTA) : When the accused fails to appear in court as scheduled; the FTA is treated as an additional charge.
  • Forfeiture : When the defendant fails to appear for court while on a Surety Bond; the court declares a Bond Forfeiture and orders the full amount of the bond paid, or the defendant returned to custody.
  • Indemnitor : A person who guarantees the defendants appearance in court; also known as a Co-signer or Surety.
  • Premium : An amount of money that the Bail Agent requires to secure the defendants release. The amount can vary depending on the seriousness of the case and the stability of the accused.
  • Principal : The defendant, accused, arrestee.
  • Recall : When the Bail Agent re-arrests the defendant and is released from the Bond. The Bail Agent surrenders the defendant back into custody. The Bonding Agent and Surety are both released from the bond if all financial obligations have been met.
  • Risk : Synonymous with liability. The amount of liability one accepts. A Bail Agent accepts a certain amount of risk; when that risk factor changes, the surety may have the option to recall the bond.
  • Skip : When the accused intentionally fails to appear for court. (Absconder)
  • Surety : The Insurance Company, Bail Agent and/or the Co-Signer on a Bail Bond that guarantees the defendants appearance in court.

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