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About Common Bail Bonds


Surety Bond
This process is a contractual undertaking, which involves a bail bondsperson, an indemnitor, and the court. The courts tend to favor this form of release, because it guarantees that if the defendant fails to appear in court, someone (the bail agent) will make an immediate effort to find the defendant, apprehend him or her, and bring him or her back to the court of proper jurisdiction. By involving family and friends of the defendant, a bail bondsperson and the courts are reasonably assured of the defendant's appearance.

Cash Bail
Cash bail means that the person who is trying to obtain the release of the defendant must deliver the full amount of bail in cash to the jail facility where the defendant is being detained.

Property Bonds
Property bonds involve the placing of local real estate (homes only, no raw land or out-of-state homes) with the courts as security for the release of a defendant. This process typically takes 1 to 2 weeks, because it requires a judge's approval, a property appraisal, a comparable sales comparison, and the clerk's acceptance. However, most states do not accept property bonds.
Release on One's Own Recognizance is another method of release. It is given to defendants who have been in the community for many years, have solid jobs, strong family and community ties, and present little or no risk of flight. This release program is usually administered by a county agency or through a local law enforcement agency. A criminal history background check is performed, and a recommendation is given to the court based on those findings. This form of release is common only for first-time offenders and non-violent offenses. Since there is no financial or other security placed with the court to insure the defendant's return to court, there is little incentive for them to appear.

ELMO and Pre-trial Services
ELMO stands for Electronic Monitor, and it is usually a condition of release in addition to a regular bail bond. The ELMO program is administered either by the local Pre-trial Services Agency or the local law enforcement agency. This device is usually in the form of an ankle bracelet. It sets off an alarm if a person strays too far from its base located within the defendant's home.