A Bail Bonds Glossary

  • Post published:April 14, 2019
  • Post category:Bail Bonds

Dealing with an arrest can be a hard and stressful situation. Everything from the actual arrest to getting booked and negotiating release can be a lot to handle and then the addition of legal jargon that is unfamiliar but very important can make things seem worse and more confusing. If this is your first time dealing with something like this, the bail aspect especially can be difficult since it is the part that requires the most action on your behalf. To help with understanding what a lot of the lingo means, here is a brief bail bonds glossary.


This is another fancy word for a cosigner. An indemnitor is a person (most likely friend or family member) who is willing to sign a contract saying that they will take on the financial burden if you do not report to your court hearing.

Bail Bond

A bail bond is a promise to the court through a signed document. This document is signed by the defendant and the bail bondsman that tells the court that the bail bondsman will be held responsible if the defendant does not appear for their court hearing. In exchange for this service, a bail bonds agent usually changes a 10% service fee based on the price of set bail.


Forfeiture occurs when a defendant is released from jail but then later does not appear to their court hearing as promised. At times the court may negotiate with the defendant to schedule a later date but after that time, if the defendant fails once more to appear then the bail cost will be forfeited. During this time the bail bonds company may need to search for the defendant in order to recuperate the loss.


A defendant is a person who is being accused of a crime. The defendant in many cases will either have a lawyer or public defender represent them in the case or negotiate some type of plea bargain or settlement.


A surety essentially works like an insurance company. When you hire a bail bondsman and they take you on as a client, they are promising the courts that you will not flee and will attend all scheduled court dates. Like a normal insurance company, they are taking on some risk but will gauge the risk based off details and if they agree, you will be released on a surety bond.