For the person who needs to take out a bail bond, the major difference between a surety bail bond and other bail bonds is the amount of money you will need up front. Traditional bail bonds are an amount (usually a rather large sum) set by the court. Once the amount is paid in full, the defendant is released from jail until their future court appearances. If the defendant fails to appear in court as required, they forfeit the bail bond money.
A surety bail bond reduces the amount of the bail that needs to be paid up front – often to around ten percent of the total bail amount. This type of arrangement is only open to those who qualify for it, and the application process and requirements are more involved. The bail agency acts as the surety, ensuring that the defendant attends court appearances as required, and they may even hire a bounty hunter to retrieve the defendant if necessary.
For both surety bail bonds and more traditional bail bonds, once the case is concluded, the paid bail amount is returned to the person who took out the bail bond, less the bail bond agency’s prearranged fee, which is usually a percentage of the total amount. For both types of bonds, you may also be asked to offer up collateral, which could include cash, savings, stocks and bonds, or the deeds to vehicles or real estate property. While bail bonds are simpler, most people cannot produce the required large amount of money in a short amount of time, which is why a surety bail bond and working with a bail bond agency may be a better option.