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What is the difference between bail and a bond?

If you are charged with an offense there will be a period when you are waiting for trial.  Bail is the payment of a sum of money to the court in return for which you are released until the conclusion of the trial.

In making a payment you are giving a commitment to the court that you will return to face trial on the due day.

If you fail to appear for trial then the money you have paid in bail is forfeit and a warrant will be issued for your arrest.  If you duly appear at the trial you receive your bail money back less any deductions for court fees, fines etc.  This happens whether you are subsequently found guilty or innocent of the crime.

Bail is commonly fixed by the court at $1,000 if you have been charged with a misdemeanor.  For more serious crimes it can be fixed at much higher levels – hundreds of thousands of dollars for really serious crimes.

Cash bond:

If the bail sum is paid in full by the defendant it is known as a cash bond.

If bail is fixed at say $10,000 many defendants will not be able to find that amount of cash to pay into the court.

Bail bond

The solution is to obtain a bail bond from a bonding company.  These are reputable companies with a good credit history who will pay the bail set for your pre-trial release, in return for you paying the bonding company a bail premium – 10 % of the bail amount fixed by the court, in the example above $1,000. The bonding company will give an assurance that you will appear in court at the due time.

Mississippi law fixes the bail premium at 10% of the bail for residents of the state and 15% for non-residents or for those residents charged with a capital crime.

If the defendant appears in court at the due time the bonding company will receive the bail amount back but the defendant will not receive back the 10% paid to the bonding company.  That is the bonding company’s profit.

If a defendant agrees a bail bond with a bonding company and then fails to appear in court on the due date then the money paid by the bonding company to the court will be forfeit.  This means that not only will the defendant face the prospect of an additional criminal charge but the bonding company is likely to employ a bounty hunter to hunt the defendant down and get the money back.

Property bond

In rare cases the court will accept a real estate property as the bond as long as the value of the property matches the bail amount set by the court.  If the defendant does not appear in court on the due date the court can order the foreclosure of the property to pay the bond due to the court.

When a criminal charge has been made it is important that the defendant arranges bail or bond as quickly as possible.  Experienced attorneys will be able to contact suitable bonding companies at a moment’s notice.  Contact your attorney quickly to arrange a bail and bond if you are facing a charge.