Types of Bonds

There are several types of bonds offered by bondsmen today.  They are:

Surety Bonds.  Surety bonds are the most common bonds.  The bondsman will require some type of collateral such as property, vehicles, cash, jewelry or something else of value that can be sold to pay the bail if the defendant fails to appear in court.  In some cases, the bondsman can provide a bond with only a signature.  The bondsman’s insurance, or surety, company guarantees the bonds which are the reason they’re called surety bonds.

Cash Bonds.  Cash bonds are usually posted by the defendant or a friend or family member in the full amount of the bail that was determined by the court.  Because they are the full amount, a bail bondsman is unnecessary.

Appeals Bonds.  When a defendant has been found guilty of a crime and chooses to appeal the guilty verdict, his lawyer may request bail for the defendant so he doesn’t have to sit in jail during the lengthy appeals process.  Unlike a surety bond, an appeal bond usually requires cash collateral in the full amount of the bail to be offered with a cashier’s check, certificate of deposit, letter of credit or cash.  If they are denied, the money would be returned to the defendant.  If he is granted bail and then fails to appear in court, the full amount of the bail would be forfeited and a warrant would be issued for the defendant’s arrest and he would be tracked down and returned to jail to finish his sentence.  

Immigration Bonds.  Immigration bonds serve the same purpose as surety bonds, but they are much more complicated.  First, they are posted to the Immigration and Naturalization Service instead of jail.  Secondly, they require special licenses for the bondsman to be able to handle immigration cases, including a valid property/casualty insurance license.  If the defendant fails to appear for his court appearances, bail is immediately forfeited whereas, with surety bonds, there may be time for the defendant to still turn himself in before the bond is forfeited.  

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