Bail Terms You Should Know

When you’re arrested, everything is confusing and moves fast.  If you’ve never been arrested, you may be unfamiliar with some of the terms and how the whole process works.  Here are some of the bail terms you should know just in case the worst happens!


Bail is the amount of money set by the court that you have to pay to be released from jail.  The intent of bail is to compel you to show up for your court dates so it’s set high enough that  you wouldn’t want to lose the money.  You show up, you get your money back.

Bail Bond

A bail bond is a bond provided by a bail bond agent that works as a loan for the amount of the bail.  You pay the bail bond agent a non-refundable premium of 10% and the bail bond agent takes responsibility for the rest.

Bail Conditions

When you are released on bond, a judge may include conditions of bail that are additional requirements for bail like attending an alcohol or drug treatment program, not communicating with known criminals, and obeying all laws.

Bail Jumping

Also known as “skipping bail”, this means that you didn’t show up for your court appearances.  Your bail will be revoked and a warrant will be issued for your arrest.  Most likely when you’re arrested again, you will face further criminal charges for jumping bail.


This happens when you are brought into the police station after your arrest.  When you’re booked for a crime, the officer will take down all of your pertinent information, collect any evidence from you, take your fingerprints and photo, collect any personal items you may have on you at the time, and place you in a jail cell.


Collateral is anything of value―real estate, jewelry, vehicles―that you can offer for a bond if you don’t have money.


The person arrested for the crime.


These are the most serious crimes and carry longer jail sentences and bigger fines.


A third party who posts your bail or arranges for a bond.  By doing so, this person is legally responsible to ensure you’ll show up for court.  If you don’t, they lose any money or collateral they put up for your release.


Less serious crimes, lower fines and sentences, often there is no jail time.

Personal Recognizance

This is when you are released from jail with the promise alone that you will show up for your court dates and no bail is issued.

Familiarizing yourself with these common terms may help if you’re ever arrested for a crime and sent to jail.  If you find yourself or a loved one in that situation, Mercy Bail Bonds is available 24/7 to help.   We’re a full-service bail bond agency located in Florida.  If you or a loved one has been arrested and needs to get out of jail, call us today at (727) 856-7775.  We always answer!