What Is A Bail Bond?

Navigating California’s legal system can be overwhelming and frustrating, especially if you are unfamiliar with the vocabulary used by the courts, the complexities of the bail bond process, and, should you or a loved one be arrested, the rights granted to you by the United States Constitution. At Cecil C. Armstrong Bail Bonds, our friendly, knowledgeable professionals are here to answer any and all questions about bail bonds and the bail bond process, including the different types of bonds, and how each one functions to help get you or your loved one out of jail.


“Bail” is a part of the American legal system that allows a person accused of a crime, also called the “defendant,” to be released from custody so they can continue to going to work and spending time with their families while preparing for their day in court. In misdemeanor and felony criminal cases, bail can be a sum of money, a piece of property, or a bail bond posted by or on behalf of a defendant to guarantee they will appear in court on their scheduled court date. Should the defendant fail to appear in court, the bail will be “forfeited,” meaning the courts will keep the full amount of the bail (instead of returning it) or collect the full amount of the bond.


A bail bond, then, is a bond the defendant or family member of the defendant purchases to cover the cost of bail. Bonds are typically negotiated through trustworthy bail bond agents like Cecil C. Armstrong Bail Bonds, and cost between 8%-10% of the bail amount. (For example, if the court sets a defendant’s bail at $1000, then a bail bond will only cost $80-$100.)

Types Of Bail & Bail Bonds

Surety Bonds

The most common form of bail bond, a surety bond is used when bail is set too high to be paid with cash. This type of bond is often purchased from a bail bond agent by a friend or relative of the defendant, and typically costs 10% of the bail amount. If the defendant doesn’t appear in court—also known as “skipping bail”—then the bail agent will be responsible for paying the entire surety bond (the full cost of the bail) and may seek out the services of a bounty hunter to search for and apprehend the defendant.

Property Bonds

A property bond (also called a “secured bond”) allows the court to issue a lien on the defendant’s property in the total amount of the bail. Not only is this process more time-consuming than purchasing a surety bond through a bail bond agent, it is also riskier; should the defendant fail to appear in court, the court may collect the property bond, essentially foreclosing on the home or property. Furthermore, in most cases, the value of the home, property, or equity therein must be at least double the bond amount.

Cash Bonds

If a defendants has enough cash—usually a large sum—he or she can forgo the bail bond process entirely and post the full amount of bail themselves. Once the defendant has met their obligations, the full amount of the bail (minus administration fees) will be returned, though it may take months for the full amount of a cash bond to be returned to the individual.

Federal Bonds

If a person is charged with committing a federal crime like tax evasion or money laundering, he or she may be required to post a federal bond to be released from jail. Federal bonds are typically more expensive than surety bonds (15%-20%), and may only be issued by a specially-licensed bail bondsmen. If a person is being held by the Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Department (ICE) or is detained by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), an immigration bond is needed to grant their release.

Appeal Bond

Also called a supersedeas (Latin for “you shall desist”) bond, an appeal bond is a type of surety bond that an “appellant” (someone appealing the judgment in a case) purchases in order to delay payment of a judgment until after the appeal process is over. Appeal bonds guarantee the judgment will be satisfied along with court costs, regardless of final judgment.

Released On Personal Recognizance

Also called a “PR bond,” a defendant released on personal recognizance need only sign a document promising to appear in court on their court date. Though not required to pay bail money, if the defendant misses his or her court date, it may result in additional criminal charges. Personal recognizance bail is usually not granted in the case of of serious crimes.

Release On Citation

Sometimes called “citing out,” a release on citation is when a arresting officer writes the defendant a ticket instead of taking the person into custody. The defendant may then pay the fine or Failing to appear in court can result in a warrant being issued for the defendant’s arrest, loss of driver’s license, or loss of benefits. A “cite out” is typically used for misdemeanors like traffic violations.

Know Your Rights! Protect Your Rights!


In the United States of America, a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Because “presumed innocence” is a fundamental cornerstone of the U.S. judicial system, most defendants are granted the option for bail and given certain unalienable rights during the bail process:

– The Right To Know What Charges Have Been Brought Against You

– The Right To Be Presumed Innocent. Detention Without Charges Is Prohibited

– The Right To Non-Excessive Bail (Guaranteed by the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States)

At Cecil C. Armstrong Bail Bonds, we make sure you know your rights, and we help you protect those rights. Don’t be a victim; contact us today for information about bail bonds and advice regarding your legal options.

Bail A Loved One Out Of Jail In California. (844) 513-1880