What is an Appearance Bond?

handcuffs and gavel

Learning about appearance bonds

Being arrested is not something that should be taken lightly.  Regardless of what the charges are, what may seem like a minor issue could develop into a larger problem, requiring bail bond and lawyers. We are going to discuss appearance bonds today, but first, let’s clear up any confusion and describe what is an appearance bond.  

An appearance bond will be ordered by a judge, releasing the defendant from custody until they are required to appear before the court . An appearance bond can be secured or unsecured as determined by the judge. 

So, do you have to pay for an appearance bond? If the judge order an unsecured appearance bond, no.  An unsecured appearance bond is the same as a being released on your own recognizance, meaning you are released from custody without bail. An agreement will be signed by the defendant with the court clerk stating that the defendant will appear at all court appearances as required. 

Is an appearance bond bad? 

Being arrested is the bad part of the situation that has anyone in the position of being granted an appearance bond or personal recognizance bond. Once a person is arrested and arraigned, if the judge grants an appearance bond, this mean the defendant is released from custody.  In most cases, an appearance bond is unsecured, meaning no money is needed.  Some appearance bonds may require a security, meaning money will need to be paid to the court clerk. 

 How does an appearance bond work?

There isn’t any difference between a bail and a bond in practical terms. Both are a guarantee that the defendant will appear in court as ordered. The bond is signed by defendant showing they understand and agree to the requirements. An appearance bond is treated the same way any other bond is handled. 

What is a secured appearance bond?

When a judge grands a secured appearance bond, the defendant must pay the amount determined by the judge in order for the appearance bond to be released to the court clerk. A secured bond can be obtained by one of two ways: 

  • Pay the full amount dictated by the judge.
  • Pay a partial amount with an agreement to pay the balance by certain time. 

An unsecured appearance bond will require the defendant to sign a promise they will pay the full amount at a later date and appear before the courts as required in the meantime. 

What is a cash appearance bond?

When a judge issues a cash bond, this means the full amount of the bond must be paid in cash to the court clerk. This cannot be done through a bail bondsman.  The court clerk will give the defendant a receipt and the money is held by the court once the case against the defendant has gone to court and is completed. 

What is the difference between a bond and bail?

When a person is arrested, the judge will “set” bail and the defendant must pay that amount before they can be released. Otherwise, they stay incarcerated until the court date and based on the outcome, they are free to go or returned to jail. 

A bond is where a bail bondsman posts the required bail on behalf of the defendant, securing their release from jail. If the defendant fails to appear at any court ordered dates, or violates any conditions that the judge established, the bail is forfeited. If the defendant “skips town”, the bail bondsman will hire a bounty hunter to find them and bring them to the courts, where they will be arrested and returned to jail. 

Can you pay an appearance bond from jail?

Yes, any person under arrest can bail themselves out once the judge has set the bail amount.  Whether they bail themselves out, have a family member or friend post bail, or use a bail bondsman, the same three process will take please.


Are bonds public record?

Yes, arrest records and bail bonds are both public records because they are filed with the court. Unless a judge declares that certain records are not to be made public, this information is available for anyone that is searching the records. 

The bail bond and bonding process can be complicated and confusing for anyone that has never had to deal with this type of situation.  You’re already concerned about the person that was arrested, but to get where you can discuss the situation with them, they need to be released from jail.  

An unsecured appearance bond is one of the best ways because it doesn’t require any money upfront.  The defendant must adhere to all requirements established by the judge or an arrest warrant could be issued, adding more problems to the situation. 

Of course, the easiest thing to do is stay on the right side of the law and you’ll never have to be concerned with an appearance bond or any other type of bond. However, a person could find themselves arrested without ever having broke the law to their knowledge. Call 866-830-2663 today.