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Glossary of Terms for Bail Bonds

We understand that there may be a lot of terms and phrases used in bail bonding and the court system that you may not be familiar with. Legal definitions can be just as confusing. Here is a list of some of the more common ones and what they mean in regards to bail bonding.

taken to jail by law enforcement and accused of committing a crime.
a person who is in jail/prison serving a sentence or awaiting bail.
money deposited with or pledged to the courts that it takes to get a person out of jail with the understanding that the person must go to court or forfeit the bail. Bail is set by the courts and can be cash, surety bond or property bond.
a written contract between a bail bondsman, surety or guarantor to pay bail amount or forfeit property pledged if the defendant fails to appear for court.
Bail bondsman
a bondsman or bail bond agent is a person or company that for a fee acts as a surety and puts up money or property as bail for the appearance of the defendant in court. Most bail agents work for insurance companies which makes a bail bond an insurance contract.
1.the person that is being or has been bonded out of jail. 2. A person accused of a crime or illegal act that is required to go to court in a legal matter.
also called a co-signer or guarantor. This is the person who is responsible for paying premiums and guaranteeing the defendants appearance in court. Additionally this is the person or persons that are financially responsible for the entire bond amount plus any costs incurred by the bondsman or surety company, if the defendant doesn't go to court. Costs include but are not limited to filing fees, legal costs, fugitive recovery fees and processing fees.
property given to a bondsman to secure the repayment of a bail bond in case of forfeiture. Cars , houses, boats, jewelry and firearms are a few examples.
Failure to appear
FTA for short is an additional criminal charge, imposed by a judge, upon a person who doesn't go to their scheduled court date.
means to pay the courts the money or surrender the property put up for bail because a defendant didn't go to court.
Notice of forfeiture
is a document from the courts informing the bondsman that the defendant in a case failed to appear for court and that the defendant must appear or pay the bail amount paid by a certain date.
also fugitive of justice - a person who has a warrant for their arrest due to failure to appear or escape charge. Also called bond jumpers, skips, runners and absconders.
Aiding and abetting
means to help or assist someone in any manner. Including give money, a place to stay or even warn them someone is looking for them. Aiding and abetting a fugitive is a criminal act and could land you in jail too.
Fugitive recovery agent
commonly referred to as bounty hunters. A person or group of people that investigate, locate and apprehend fugitives. Also are responsible for the actual revocation of a bond.
Bond revocation
or revoking a bond- in simple terms means putting someone back in jail and no longer being financially responsible for them going to court. This usually has a cost associated with it but is a much cheaper alternative to paying the forfeiture if a person believes that their defendant may skip court.