Surety Bail Bonds


A surety bail bond is a third-party type of bail bond. In essence, the bail bond company promises that someone will be compensated (in this case, the court), if the defendant does not honor the terms of the contract and fails to show up for court. To obtain a surety bail bond for a specific amount, the net worth of the applicant and personal credit history are considered. Since surety bonds are the primary type of bond issued by bail bondsmen, they are normally pre-approved for a “blanket” amount, which means they are not required to secure approval for each defendant individually, but can cover multiple defendants until their pre-approved limit is reached.

A surety bail bond is a guarantee issued on good faith. If the surety issuer has to back up a guarantee with cash, because the defendant has decided to skip bail, the surety will be looking for restitution from the principal. Due to the nature of bail bonds and their default rate, many banks and insurance companies refuse to issue surety bonds. Surety bond issuers are specialists, and bondsmen should make every attempt to secure the release of defendants with a high probability of returning for trial. In addition, those companies that offer bondsmen 24-hour service and holiday hours are hot commodities.

Without surety bonds, defendants would be forced to sit in jail until their trials, and the justice system would spend more time than it already does trying to re-capture those individuals that decide not to return to court. Though this is a practice that has been going on since the 1800s, courts have recently started to issue other types of bonds that are taking their place. Many courts now offer defendants the same bail percentage fee paid directly to the courts instead of through surety companies. In addition, signature bonds and recognizance bonds are further allowing the “honor system” to be utilized for the return of defendants with the understanding that an arrest warrant will be immediately issued if they default on their word.

Surety bail bonds are just one of the several ways used to guarantee the return of a defendant for trail after his/her release after arraignment.