Life can become overwhelming, and sometimes you can overlook serious matters. Maybe you did not realize that you were driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level that exceeded the legal limit of 0.08%, and the police arrested you for drunk driving. When that happens, you should do everything necessary to secure your freedom immediately.

One way you can do so is by posting bail or a bond to receive a temporary release, pending the outcome of your case. While most attorneys will use these two terms interchangeably when discussing a client’s jail release, there are key differences you ought to know.

In this article, we will break down the key differences between bail bond and bail and give you all the crucial information to help you navigate the confusing legal justice system to obtain your freedom after an arrest.

Key Differences Between Bail Bond and Bail That You Ought to Know

After an arrest and passing the booking procedure, the arresting officers or the court could give you a chance to post bail to obtain your freedom as your case progresses through various stages of the legal justice system. Bail is the total amount of money you pay to serve as security that you will return to court on the scheduled dates to challenge the allegations you are up against.

If you fail to attend the scheduled hearings, the court will forfeit your bail. Bail is not a punishment for the offense you are up against. Instead, it is a way of ensuring that you will abide by the terms of your release.

If you do not have money or equivalent property to give as security for your release, you can work with a bail bond company or bondsman to help you secure your freedom by posting a bail bond. A bail bond is typically an agreement between you and the bondsman, promising you will show up on your court dates.

Below are key differences between bail and a bail bond that you ought to know if you or a loved one is under arrest:


One of the main differences between bail and bond lies in the cost. If you opt to pay cash bail, the court will require you to pay the total amount set or a predetermined amount to secure your release from jail. However, when you decide to use the services of a bondsman, you will only pay ten (10) percent of the total set bail amount for your offense as a premium.

For instance, when the court sets your bail at $5,000, you or your family will pay this entire amount as cash bail to obtain your freedom. However, if you opt for a bail bond, you or your family will only pay $500 (non-refundable) as a premium. Because the amount at stake is high, sometimes the bondsman could also require collateral as security for your release from jail on bond.


Any person can pay bail for you upon your arrest, but only a bondsman can post your bond. Therefore, when you or your family or friends decide to obtain a bail bond to help you secure your freedom upon an arrest, they should find a bondsman ready to enter into this contract or agreement.

The criteria each bail bond company uses to decide whether to grant you a bond are specific to that company. Below are the standard and common requirements for most bail bond companies:

  • You must have family or community ties.
  • You must have no record of skipping bail.
  • You must have a steady and stable income or employment.
  • You must not be a non-citizen because there are chances that you can flee.

If you meet the above requirement, the bondsman you choose could decide to work with you to obtain your release from jail.


Whether you opt for cash bail or obtain a bail bond, you must be ready to abide by certain requirements. With cash bail, the only crucial requirement is showing up for your court dates to challenge the alleged violation. When you fail to do so, you lose your money to the court.

On the other hand, with a bail bond, you will still have to adhere to the required court conditions, including returning to court on the scheduled dates. When you fail to do so, the family member or friend (indemnitor) who signed an agreement with the bondsman will be financially responsible for the money the bondsman will lose to the court.

The bondsman will also seize any property or asset you surrender as collateral to recover the loss. To avoid bail forfeiture and a re-arrest without the possibility of bail, you should comply with all the required terms of your release from jail until the end of your case. If you are unsure of what to do or not do while out on bond, you should speak with your bondsman to seek clarification.

Bail Hearing After an Arrest

Within less than forty-eight (48) hours after an arrest, you will make your first court appearance, also known as the arraignment or bail hearing. The judge will consider the following factors when deciding whether you qualify for bail during this hearing:

  • Your criminal record.
  • Your prior record of skipping bail.
  • Whether you have family or community ties.
  • Likelihood of fleeing the state or country after your release.

If you have an attorney, he/she can increase your chances of qualifying for a release from jail on bail while you await the outcome of your case. Below are the potential outcomes of this hearing:

  • Release on Own Recognizance (O.R. release) — The court will release you without bail, but you must sign a commitment promising to return to challenge the alleged offense on the scheduled dates.
  • Personal bond — The court will release you from jail after you sign an agreement or bond that could make you subject to civil or criminal penalties.
  • Bail set with strict terms and conditions — The court could accept your bail request and allow you to pay the set amount in cash or through a bondsman.
  • Bail denial — If you do not meet the above eligibility criteria, the court could deny your bail request, meaning you will remain behind bars until your case is resolved at trial.

Find a Bail Bondsman Near Me

If you or a loved one is under arrest on suspicion that he/she is a culprit in a criminal case, you will have the opportunity to obtain a bail bond or post cash bail to help them obtain a release from jail. At Express Bail Bonds, we understand how emotional and confusing an arrest can be.

We cannot help you challenge the alleged offense, but we can help you post a bond to obtain your freedom before your case’s trial date. Call us at 702-633-2245 to schedule an appointment with our ever-available bondmen, wherever you are in Las Vegas.