Helpful law terms you need to know

If you have a loved one who has just been arrested and you are needing to get them out, it can feel like an overwhelming process at a time where your senses are already on full alert. This is only amplified when needing to do paperwork and discussions using terms that most who aren’t familiar with law and bonds would know. To help decipher some of the most common terms you may come across, here is a glossary.

Bail Bond

Bail bonds are essentially contracts that promise that if the defendant is released, that they pledge to return for any and all hearings pertaining to their case until it has reached a conclusion. There are several types of bail bonds such as surety, cash bonds and property bonds, but the main goal for all of them is to ensure that the defendant does not flee.

Forfeiture

Forfeiture of a bond means that the defendant did not return to court for their hearings after being released. It’s important to note that the courts understand when emergencies happen and forfeiture won’t be handed immediately, but this is a case where communication is everything. The defendant needs to reschedule immediately otherwise the bond will be forfeited and a bench warrant will immediately be issued for their arrest.

Indemnitor

An indemnitor is technically just another word for a co-signer on a contract. It is typically a close friend of loved one who steps up to take financial responsibility for the defendant should anything happen. This is an incredibly important decision and one that should not be taken lightly.

Surety

A surety bond is one of the most common types of bonds. These are acquired through the use of a bail bondsman and work a bit like an insurance company where you only need to come up with a small portion down (this is typically around 10%) and the remained is fronted by the bail bond agency. The catch for this however is that 10% is not refundable because it is considered the service fee for the agency.

Bail Conditions

Bail conditions are handed down to the defendant at the same time the bond is set. These are a set of expectations that the judge includes as part of the bond that have to be followed in order to stay out of jail. Bond conditions are different for many but typical conditions are the limitation to travel while released and a ban on drinking or usage of illicit substances.

Collateral

Collateral can often tie into property bonds but it is not just houses that can be used. Collateral is technically any non monetary possession of value that can be used as leverage to post bond for a defendant. As said, this could be a house but could also be other possessions like cars as well.

Defendant

When someone is arrested and officially charged with a crime, they become what is called a defendant. They are called this because in a case they will need to defend their stance against the charges either with a lawyer or defending themselves in court.

While there are many other terms that can be thrown around, these are probably the most used and ones that you will most definitely come across. If you ever see a term or phrase during the bond process that leaves you confused, you can always feel free to ask and we would be more than happy to explain as well!

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