To many, the bail bond process may seem a complicated process full of terms and words that have meanings other than what you’re used to. This article will define a few common terms one might come across during the process of dealing with a bail bondsman.

Premium Payments

 The bail bond premium is the cost to post a bail bond, which in many states is restricted by law to 10% of the bond amount.  For example, if a bond were set at $10,000, a $1000 premium would be paid to the bail bond company in exchange for posting the bail bond and releasing the defendant from custody.  Cash, check, or credit cards are usually used to pay the bail bond premium.  The premium amount is non-refundable and fully earned upon release of the defendant, regardless of the final disposition of the defendant’s case.  Paying a bond premium to a bail agent is usually a more affordable option than posting a cash bond.

Bond Indemnitor

A bond indemnitor is also known as a co-signer or guarantor.  As the bond indemnitor, you are responsible to the court and to the bail agent for the defendant’s adherence to the contract agreement and conditions.  Bond indemnitors are often family members or friends of the defendant. A bond indemnitor takes full responsibility for the defendant’s appearance in court, and will often be asked to pledge collateral or security to guarantee the appearance.  Failure to comply with these conditions may result in the forfeiture of the premium payment as well as the pledged collateral.

Bail Agreements

This is the contract that exists between an indemnitor and the bail agent.  The agreement generally includes the name and contact information of the indemnitor, the date the bail bond was executed, the bond amount, the criminal charge, and the court in which the defendant is required to appear.  Upon signing this agreement, the indemnitor is assuming the responsibility for ensuring that the defendant appears for all of his or her court appearances.  The agreement also states that if the defendant fails to comply with the conditions of the bail bond, the collateral placed as security for the bond may be seized by the bond agency in order to pay the bail amount to the court in the event of forfeiture.  The signature of the indemnitor is required to make this agreement binding.


A bail bond company will often require collateral in addition to the premium that is being paid for a bail bond.  Collateral is anything of resale value that is used to secure the amount of the bail bond, such as cars, jewelry, boats, computers, firearms, or the equity in your home.  In some cases, the collateral will remain in the secure possession of the bail agent until the defendant’s case has been concluded.  Collateral is returned after charges are dropped, sentence is determined, or innocence has been proven.


If the defendant does not appear at the assigned date and time of their court date, the court will formally notify the bail company with a second court date. If the accused fails to show up a second time, the court may order that the payment of the full bail amount form the bail bond company. If this happens the bail bond company will use a fugitive recovery agent, also known as a bounty hunter, to track and locate the defendant to avoid the possibility of financial loss.


This is a general article for example purposes.  As always, please contact us at 979-821-2663 regarding your specific case.