* For large bail amounts, bond agents can generally obtain security against the assets of the defendant or persons willing to assist the defendant. For example, for a $100,000 bond for a person who owns a home, the bond agent would charge $10,000 and take a mortgage against the house for the full penal sum of the bond.
* If the defendant fails to appear in court, the bond agent is allowed by law and/or contractual arrangement to bring the defendant to the jurisdiction of the court in order to recover the money paid out under the bond, usually through the use of a bounty hunter. The bond agent is also allowed to sue the defendant for any money forfeited to the court should the defendant fail to appear.
* In most jurisdictions, bond agents have to be licensed to carry on business within the state. Several unusual organizations often provide bail bonds. For example, AAA (the American Automobile Association) offers a bail bond service to its members who are jailed for ordinary traffic offenses to prevent law enforcement officials from threatening lengthy remand periods before trial if the alleged offender does not plead guilty at arraignment.
* Four states—Illinois, Kentucky, Oregon, and Wisconsin—have completely banned commercial bail bonding, usually substituting the 10% cash deposit alternative described above. However, some of these states specifically allow AAA and similar organizations to continue providing bail bond services pursuant to insurance contracts or membership agreements.
Different types of Bail The form of bail varies from jurisdiction, but the common forms of bail include:
* Recognizance — a promise made by the accused to the court that he/she will attend all required judicial proceedings and will not engage in illegal activity or other prohibited conduct as set by the court. Typically a monetary amount is set by the court, but is not paid by the defendant unless the court orders it forfeited; this is denominated an unsecured appearance bond or release on one's own recognizance.
* Surety — when a third party agrees to be responsible for the debt or obligation of the defendant. In many jurisdictions this service is provided commercially by a bail bondsman, where the agent will receive 10% of the bail amount up front and will keep that amount regardless of whether the defendant appears in court. The court in many jurisdictions, especially jurisdictions that prohibit bail bondsmen, may demand a certain amount of the total bail (typically 10%) be given to the court, which, unlike with bail bondsmen, is returned if the defendant does not violate the conditions of bail. This also known as surety on the bond.
* Conditions of release— many varied non-monetary conditions and restrictions on liberty can be imposed by a court to ensure that a person released into the community will appear in court and not commit any more crimes. Common examples include: mandatory calls to the police, surrendering passports, home detention, electronic monitoring, drug testing, alcohol counseling, surrendering firearms.
* Protective order also called an Order of protection— one very common feature of any conditional release, whether on bail, bond or condition, is a court order requiring the defendant to refrain from criminal activity against the alleged crime victim, or stay away from and have no contact with the alleged crime victim. The former is a limited order, the latter a full order. Violation of the order can subject the defendant to automatic forfeiture of bail and further fine or imprisonment.
* Cash — typically "cash only," where the defendant must provide the amount of the bail to the court. Release time for a cash bond once it has been exonerated can be up to one year.
* Combinations— courts often allow defendants to post cash bail or bond, and then impose further conditions, as mentioned above, in order to protect the community or ensure attendance.