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Bail and Bond: What’s the Difference?

When a person is placed in jail awaiting his trial he is given the opportunity to be released on bail. Depending on the person and the crime they will have to pay a steep fee in order to be released, unless of course in the case of a judge denying bail all together. Which usually happens if the person accused of the crime is a repeat offender, threat to the community, or might be a flight risk. 

The meaning of bail 

The word bail is defined as the short-term release of someone accused of a crime awaiting trial, in some cases only in return for a sum of money given to the court to guarantee their appearance in the trial. The judge will usually make the bail amount be high enough to ensure they show up to court but because of the 8th amendment they can not require an excessive amount for their bail. 

How does a judge determine bail amount?

I was able to write an article on this topic that is very informative and goes over a lot more detail that I do here. If you are interested in that article you can read it here, “How does a judge determine bail amount?” Otherwise, here's a short explanation for you. 


Every judge is different and although the reasons for deciding bail amount are all the same, some judges will judge the situations differently than others, so one of the things that decides the bail amount is judge’s opinion of the situation, but this only plays a small factor. One of the biggest things that decide the bail amount is the seriousness of the crime, if the defendant is going to trial for a big crime, he’s likely not going to be released to the public without a larger bail amount ensuring he shows up to court. Other things that determine the bail amount is if it’s a repeated crime, whether they’ve showed up to court in the past, if they have outstanding warrants, and whether they have a full time job or if they are attending college at the time. 

The meaning of bond (in court)

A bond is when the payment is made of the bail amount given to the man being accused of a crime. There are three different types of bonds: cash bond, surety bond, and a personal recognized bond. Below I will give you a brief explanation of all of them. 

A cash bond 

A cash bond is used when the defendant pays the bail amount in cash to the court without having any third party help. When this happens some of the cash may go to court fees.

A surety bond

A surety bond is when you use third party help such as a bail bond agent to post the bail amount for you so that you are able to be released from jail. When this happens there will be a fee for the third party bail bondsman that will not be refunded once the trial has completed. 

A personal recognized bond

A personal recognized bond is when the court is certain that the defendant will show up to court and does not require any payments. If, however, they do not show up to court a high volume of fees will be required. 

The real difference between bail and bond

Now that you know what these two mean it’s easy to see the difference between them, but if not I’ll try to help you out a little. A bond is not what decides the amount of money you have to pay the court instead it is there to make a way for the payment to get through to the court. Bail is the amount of money assigned to the defendant, this is given by the court and decided by the judge. The bond is how you decide to pay the court back. Most people who have the money already to pay will use a cash bond that helps them pay bail to the court. Others are unable to pay off their bail because of how high it is, which is why they use a surety bond which requires a bail bondsman to help them with the payments. 


Thanks for reading our article about the differences between bail and bond. I hope it helped. IF you are in need of a bail bondsman to help pay your bail amount, Sportsman's Bail Bonds is the place to go. Not only do they have agents near most of the jails in Utah, they also are open 24/7 and always available for your help. You can call Sportsman's bail Bonds at 801-623-6877 or contact them online