What’s the Difference Between Bond and Bail?

bail vs bond, what's the difference?

When we started our bail bond company over four decades ago, Frank Calabretta’s Bail House set out not only to help people get out of jail while awaiting their court date, but also to support family and friends of defendants to understand the court system in order to create a strong support system for the defendant in times of need. 

One of the questions we have heard again and again over the years that seems especially confusing to people is, “What’s the difference between bond and bail?” It’s a great question as these two terms can tend to be used interchangeably, which further exacerbates the confusion when used incorrectly. Bail and bond are actually not the same thing at all. 

At Frank Calabretta’s we hope to explain the difference between bail and bond clearly and succinctly, so that not only do you understand it, but you can help explain the bail vs. bond difference to others. 


The Bond vs Bail Difference:


What exactly is the definition of bail? 


Bail is simply a set amount of money that is determined by the court system when someone gets arrested. During the booking process, the court system will take into account the charges against the person, their level of danger to the public, their mental health, and their flight risk to determine if bail is allowed, and how much bail is set at. 

 If bail is set, then this means there is a certain amount the defendant must pay the court system to get out of jail while awaiting trial. If the defendant has that amount of money available, he or she can pay their bail themselves and be released from jail as soon as the court is able to process them out. Sometimes this can take a couple of hours or sometimes a whole day, depending on the amount of staff at the jail and the amount of time the booking process takes. 


The Problem with Bail


The problem facing someone trying to bail him or herself out of jail is typically that the defendant doesn’t have enough money to do so on their own. Oftentimes, the court will set the bail amount at a rate high enough to be difficult for the person to pay on their own, so that the court can ensure the defendant will show up for his or her court date. 

If bail is paid and the defendant does in fact show up at their appointed trial date(s), then the bail money is returned minus a court processing fee. 


What is the definition of a bond?  


When you’re talking about the bail vs bond difference, a bond is what you can think of as a type of loan in order to pay the bail amount. Since most people do not have enough cash readily available to pay bail on their own, they usually have to obtain a bail bond from either a friend or family member, or most commonly, a bail bond agency. This is exactly what we do here at Frank Calabretta’s Bail House. 

For example, if a defendant is in jail and cannot afford to pay bail for him or herself, they can call Frank Calabretta’s Bail House and we will take them through the process of issuing what’s called a bail bond. This is essentially a type of loan that we pay to the court on the defendant’s behalf for a fee. The defendant is then typically released from jail after a few hours of paperwork, and is able to await his or her court date from the comfort of their own home. 


What Happens to the Bail Bond Money Once the Court Date Arrives?


Once the defendant fulfills the obligation to show up to their court hearing, the court system returns the bail bond money to Bail House minus the court fee. The defendant pays the bail bondsman a fee for loaning the money, and the benefit is that they do not have to wait days, weeks, or even months in jail before their court date. This can be beneficial, not only because it is uncomfortable to wait in jail, but also because typically defendants want to use that time to come up with a strategy, speak with attorneys, and prepare their case for the upcoming court date. 


We Offer 24/7 Anytime Bail Bonds for Your Convenience


At Frank Calabretta‘s Bail House in Placer County, we can answer any questions you have about the bail vs bond difference, explain the entire bail bond process, and help the accused get out of jail quickly and easily. If you still have questions about the bail vs. bond difference or you need help obtaining anytime bail bonds for family, friends, or yourself, we will gladly assist! You can reach us at (530) 823–8340 24-hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. We will always be there for you at Frank Calabretta’s Bail House.