Loved One Arrested? 3 Terms Regarding Bail You Need To Know

Whether they are guilty of the crime or not, getting a loved one out of jail after an arrest may be a priority for you. This protects your loved one from the emotional distress that comes along with being away from the family, but leaving jail also allows your loved one to make legal arrangements in a more calm and stress-free manner. Unfortunately, a release from jail will most likely require paying bail, which can be a complicated ordeal. This guide will help you understand a few important terms regarding the bail process.


Even though you may use the term freely, you may not even realize what bail actually means.

A judge sets the bail amount based on a few factors, but this amount is mainly based around the crime. For example, a more severe crime, such as rape or assault with a deadly weapon, will have a higher bail amount. For non-violent petty misdemeanors, the bail amount may be around $500.

Bail must be paid as a security deposit to be released from jail, meaning your loved one is paying the amount as a promise they will show up for future court dates.


Many families are unable to pay the amount needed to bail their loved one out. This is common in situations where bail is set at a very high amount, but it can also be problematic paying for a smaller bail amount. Thankfully, help is available.

A bond is a contract that is set between a bail bond agent and the defendant. The contract states the bondsman will post the bail on the defendant's behalf, but a fee must be paid. In addition, the defendant must follow a few conditions.

If the defendant does not show up for their court dates, the bondsmen will lose the money they paid toward the bail. To avoid this loss, the bondsmen will come after the defendant.

If you used your own collateral as a means of paying the bondsmen, you will most likely lose the collateral if the defendant goes missing.


Posting bail is not a get out of jail free card. If your loved one decides to skip upcoming court dates, they are basically forfeiting the bail money, meaning they will never get the money back.

On the other hand, if your loved one does show up to their designated meetings and court dates, they have a chance of receiving the bail money that was posted back to them.

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