Difference Between Bail and Bond

Bail vs Bond

A person with the knowledge of law can decipher the difference between bail and bond quiet easily. However, when it comes to general usage, bail and bond are two legal terms that are often considered interchangeable. You must remember that bail and bond differ in certain aspects for sure. The meaning of both the words, the way they are used in legal context, and the meanings that these words may carry outside courtroom, if there is any, will be discussed in this article.

What is Bail?

Bail is the temporary release for someone, who has done some legal violation. It happens in this way. If someone violates law, usually, they are supposed to be kept in the custody of the court until their innocence or guilt is proved. Until a decision is made, the court can also decide to release the person, which is known as bail. Usually, the judge determines the bail during the defendant’s first appearance. Bail can be set in different methods. One such method is the pledge of money or bail bond. To understand the term bail better, have a look at the definition given by the Oxford English dictionary. Bail is ‘the temporary release of an accused person awaiting trial, sometimes on condition that a sum of money is lodged to guarantee their appearance in court.’

It is to be understood that bail is against the temporary release of a prisoner pending trial. Sometimes, bail also refers the money paid by or for someone in order to secure their release on bail. Look at the sentence given below.

She was released on a 10 million bail.

Here, bail refers to the amount paid to the court.

It is quite proper to use the preposition ‘out’ after the word ‘bail’ to describe the action of temporary release of a prisoner. ‘To bail out’ means to secure the release of a prisoner on payment of bail. If all the court requirements are fulfilled, then at the end of the trial, the bail money will be returned.

Difference Between Bail and Bond

What is Bond?

On the other hand, a bond is a kind of restraint or a responsibility as in the expression ‘bonds of duty’. A bond is a binding engagement. It is a kind of agreement between two parties. The one who executes a bond enters into an agreement where his word is the bond. His word is the binding factor, the restraint, or a responsibility.

The word bond interestingly has a different meaning when used in the subject of commerce. In commerce, a bond is a certificate issued by a government or a public company promising to repay borrowed money at a fixed rate of interest at a specified time. It is sometimes called a debenture too.

In the legal context, according to the Freed Dictionary, bond is a ‘written guaranty or pledge, which is purchased from a bonding company (usually an insurance firm) or by an individual as security (called a “bondsman”) to guarantee some form of performance, including showing up in court (“bail bond”).’ In the case of a bail bond, the bail is issued depending on this bond made to the court. So, if the defendant decides not to appear in the court, the court has the right to acquire the money designated in the bond.

What is the difference between Bail and Bond?

• Bail is the temporary release for someone, who has done some legal violation, but bail also refers to a kind of security that has to be provided by a person who is facing trial in the court for his momentary release from prison. The security provided in bail can be in the form of money as it is a sum paid to the court.

• In the latter case, bail refers the money paid by or for someone in order to secure their release on bail.

• On the other hand, a bond is a binding engagement as it is a kind of agreement between two parties. This is the main difference between bail and bond.

• When it comes to bail and bond in the legal field, bond (bail bond) is the agreement made with the court to release the defendant during the trial, before the decision is made. Bail is the temporary release of a defendant from the court until the decision is made regarding his or her case.

Thus, the two words are to be used with care and precision.


Images Courtesy:

  1. Bail by Allureme (CC BY 3.0)