Bail and bond are two terms often used interchangeably when discussing the release of an arrested individual from jail. In actuality, there is a slight difference between the two. Bail is the amount of money set by a court that must be paid in order to release an arrested individual from jail. The money is held by the court as collateral against the defendant’s promise to appear at all court hearings. Bond is a form of guarantee, offered by a surety company or bail bond agent, to pay the bail if the defendant fails to appear in court. The bond is a guarantee that the defendant will appear in court as required and is an agreement between the surety, the defendant, and the court.
The primary difference between bail and bond is that bail is the sum of money set by the court while bond is the guarantee from a surety company. The surety company is typically responsible for ensuring the defendant appears at all court hearings. If the defendant fails to appear, the surety company may pay the full amount of bail to the court, depending on the terms of the bonding agreement. As such, a bond is a form of insurance for the court against a defendant failing to appear.