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Bail/Financial Release

Pretrial Release

Pretrial release refers to the conditions of release from custody to which defendants must adhere during the time period between the filing of charges by law enforcement and court adjudication. After arrest charges are filed, the courts will decide whether a defendant can be released pending trial and other court proceedings. If a defendant is released pretrial, the courts may issue stipulations on that release that fall along a spectrum of least to most restrictive, often driven by the severity of the charges filed and the defendant’s prior criminal history.

Types of financial release

Surety bond—Bail bond company signs a promissory note to the court for the full bail amount and charges the defendant a fee for the service (usually 10% of the full bail amount). If the defendant fails to appear, the bond company is liable to the court for the full bail amount. Frequently the bond company requires collateral from the defendant in addition to the fee.

Deposit bond—Defendant deposits a percentage (usually 10%) of the full bail amount with the court. The percentage of the bail is returned after the disposition of the case, but the court often retains a small portion for administrative costs. If the defendant fails to appear in court, he or she is liable to the court for the full bail amount.

Full cash bond—The defendant posts the full bail amount in cash with the court. If the defendant makes all court appearances, the cash is returned. If the defendant fails to appear in court, the bond is forfeited.

Property bond—Involves an agreement made by a defendant as a condition of pretrial release requiring that property valued at the full bail amount be posted as an assurance of his or her appearance in court. If the defendant fails to appear in court, the property is forfeited. Also known as "collateral bond."

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