What’s the Difference Between Bond and Bail?

After an arrest, the defendant has to wait for arraignment before there is any opportunity for release. Sometimes that might only be a couple of hours, but at other times it could be a few days, it just depends on the timing of the arrest and the court schedule for arraignments locally. Once that hearing is held, the judge has a few options for release conditions, including both bond and bail. In both cases, it costs money to obtain a defendant’s release, but the two options work very differently. Depending on the judge and the case, you could have the option of either bond or cash bail, neither, or a stipulation that one of the two must be used.

There are other conditions a judge may impose as well, like surrendering a passport or the use of location monitoring services. Those are usually clearly explained, but many people interacting with the system for the first time don’t fully understand the differences between bond and bail when making the choice.

Bond Release

When you purchase bail bonds Scranton PA, you pay a one-time service fee to the bond company to secure the release of a defendant, whether it’s yourself or someone you know. This fee pays for the bond company’s staff time and other expenses, including the capital cost of the bond, which is essentially a short-term loan to cover an expense. After all court appearances have been met and the case is over, the bondsman gets the invested money back, and in the interim the bond company takes on the liability for ensuring the defendant’s appearance.

Cash Bail

Cash bail is essentially paying the full cost of release to the court up front. After all court appearances, the cash bail is refunded to the defendant. This option is often less accessible because of the high cost of bail for many charges. When contrasting the cost of bail and bond, it’s worth remembering that bonds tend to average around 10 to 15% of the cash bail cost.


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