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If you or a loved one need to post bail, then you should know that there are several different types of bail bonds available, and each can be tailored to fit both the charges being faced and the accused’s financial situation. Each case will have its own unique bond as determined by a judge at the bail hearing. There are eight major types of bail bonds, with some used more frequently than others. What is important in all instances is that the accused shows up to their court appearances and maintains contact with their bondsman, attorney, or judge. 


An unsecured appearance bond is the least severe kind of bail bond.  Also known as Cite & Release, Book & Release, or released on Own Recognizance (O.R.). With an unsecured appearance bond no bail is paid to the courts. Instead, the arrestee is released on their signature promising to appear for all future scheduled court hearings.  Once the paperwork or citation is signed you will be released from custody. Unsecured appearance bonds are usually only given for infractions or misdemeanor crimes. Not showing up in court on the specified date as promised may make it difficult for someone to obtain another unsecured appearance bond in the future. A secured appearance bond consist of bail bonds that are performed with collateral. A secured appearance bond is performed by securing the bail bond amount with the collateral on penalty of forfeiture. Secured appearance bonds consist of surety bonds, cash bail, property bonds, and any other bonds that require that they be secured by some form of financial value.


Cash bail is the paying the bail amount in ts entirety to the court. Once the cash is paid, the person is free to leave jail, but must show up whenever required. Cash bail can be paid by the suspect or by someone else on their behalf. In more serious crimes, cash bail is set to an extraordinarily high amount in order to ensure that the suspect will return to stand trial. Once the case is decided, the bail is returned to it's depositor. 


If you need to be released from custody but do not have the money required to post cash bail, then a surety bond— also called a bail bond— is a viable option. You will work with a bail bondsman to whom you or someone representing you will pay a percentage of the total bond amount with the promise that you will show up in court when required to do so. The bondsman then pays the rest of the bail so that you can be released from custody. As with cash bail, a surety bond runs the risk of forfeiting their bail if a defendant doesn't show up to court. 


In this case, property is put up in lieu of cash. A property bond uses a person’s personal possessions as a way to ensure bail payment. Usually, this involves larger items such as government bonds, stocks, real estate or other valuable possessions. Keep in mind the value of the property given must be twice the amount of the bail. The court then places a lien, or a claim, on the property. Skipped court appearances can mean that the courts can possess these items and force the accused to forfeit ownership in order to cover the cost of bail. Using one’s property as a way to pay bail should be considered very carefully and used only as a last resort. Losing a home, vehicle, or land can cause financial misery well after the accused’s legal troubles are over. 


If someone is being held by the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement department, or ICE, they’ll need an immigration bond to be released from custody. An immigration bail bond is very similar to a surety bond in that you pay to a bond agent a premium and they put up the remainder to get the accused released from detention. Once released the accused must attend all their immigration hearings and report to ICE if they’re ordered deported. If they miss any hearings or do not report for deportation they forfeit the bond and a warrant will be issued for their arrest.


If you’re charged with a federal offense, you’ll need a federal bond. Federal bonds are bail bonds for US District Court criminal cases. Federal bail bonds are used to free a defendant from a federal holding facility once a federal judge determines the bond amounts. There are no bail schedules of bail amounts set for individual crimes. The normal premium charged for a federal bond is typically 15% of the bail bond amount and these type of U.S. government bail bonds bonds do take some time to process.


A supersedeas bond (aka: ‘suspended sentence’)  is a type of surety bond often required by the judicial courts from a defendant who loses in court and wants to stay execution of the judgment. (i.e. gives the defendant time to get their family together, finances in order, employment situated, etc. prior to serving the sentence). Supersedeas Bonds are usually confused  with an Appeal Bond.


Appeal bonds are need if a defendant wishes to be released from custody pending the results of an appeal. In a criminal matter, an Appeal Bond works like a Bail Bond, which is available to a defendant prior to trial, guaranteeing his appearance for court hearings and trial. In the case of an Appeal Bond, the defendant is guaranteeing that he will surrender following an unsuccessful appeal to submit to the penalty to which he was originally sentenced. The defendant must be able to show, by clear and convincing evidence that he will not flee, he is not a danger to others and that a substantial legal question will be raised on appeal. The judge then sets the Appeal Bond amount. However, if the defendant has entered a guilty or no contest plea, being released on bail pending appeal is unlikely.

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