Bond or Bail is basically a promise or contract with the Accused to come back to court “or else!”
In most cases, a Judge will determine an amount of money that is required for the release of the Accused. This is determined based on the facts of the case, the person’s criminal history, and other factors. See “What are the Bond Factors that a Judge considers most?”. Upon payment of the set bond to the jail, the person will be released on conditions with the primary condition being the promise to return to court for all remaining court dates. So long as all conditions are met, the bond amount paid will be returned (minus a nominal fee to the jail) upon the end of the case.
Bonds are set in amounts that are routinely too high to pay in full. Bonding companies are in business to make a profit by charging a fee to the client in exchange for the bonding company to pay the full amount of the bond to the jail. Usually the bonding company will charge 12-15% of the overall bond. This fee will not be returned upon the case determination. For example, if the Accused’s bond is $10,000 the bonding company will charge you between $1200-$1500 in exchange for them to pay the $10,000 bond directly to the jail. There are policies set by each bonding company, and every company is different. They are in competition with one another, as in any business, and it may be best to shop around the fees and required policies. See an example of a bail bond company’s policies.
Disclaimer: An attorney is not allowed, by Georgia law and ethics, to provide any financial assistance or take on any liability involving the bond of a client.
Signature Bond (“SOB”): also sometimes called “release on recognizance,” this bond allows the person to sign themselves out of jail without paying a bond amount with the promise that if he misses court he is responsible to pay the full bond amount.
Straight Bond: means the straight value of the bond amount can be paid using a bonding company or directly to the jail. Property may also be allowed, but varies on jurisdiction.
Cash Bond: means that the bond must be paid in cash directly to the jail and no bonding company assistance is allowed.
Property Bond: a property deed must be submitted as collateral with a certain amount proven in equity (varies on jurisdiction).
Split bond: a portion of the bond may be paid with property and a portion with cash (varies on jurisdiction).
10% bond: 10% of the bond may be paid directly to the jail for return upon completion of case in lieu of fee to bonding company (varies on jurisdiction).