The 7 Types of Bail Bonds Explained


There are seven different types of bail bonds available to defendants in Pennsylvania. The seven different types of bonds are:

  • Cash bail bonds
  • Surety bail bonds
  • Property bail bonds
  • Citation release bonds
  • Recognizance release bonds
  • Immigration bail bonds
  • Federal bail bonds

Each type of bond has different rules, regulations, and uses. Let’s discuss what each type is in a little more detail.

Cash Bail Bonds

Cash bail bonds are the first one on the list because they are, by far, the most common type of bail in the area. It is also relatively easy to understand. They’re exactly what they sound like: bail paid in cash by the defendant themselves.

While it is true that you can pay any bail in cash, there are certain types of bail where cash is the only accepted payment method. For example, violent crimes where the defendant has a higher-than-average flight risk are often slated for cash-only bail bonds. In situations where cash bail is required, the judge sets bail so high that your average defendant can’t afford it.

Surety Bail Bonds

Surety bail bonds happen whenever a defendant hires a bail bonds company. These are the most common type of bail bonds whenever the defendant doesn’t have the kind of money required to pay bail on their own accord. But, how do surety bonds work?

Well, in a surety bond, a bail bonds agency pays the full cost of bail to the court upfront. This happens under a legally binding assumption that the defendant will pay the bonds agency back, in total, and appear at all appointed court dates.

Most bail companies (like us here at ABC Bail Bonds) charge a 10% rate for their services. What that means is that the defendant will have to pay the bond company 10% of the total cost of their bail. This helps to ensure that the defendant attends all of their appointed court dates and that they don’t skip bail.

The process of acquiring a surety bond is (usually) like so:

  • You’re arrested and put behind bars.
  • A judge sets your bail amount.
  • You contact us here at ABC Bail Bonds.
  • We inform you of all your financial obligations if you’re to proceed with using our services.
  • We then pay the entire amount of your bail to the court after you provide us with your 10% fee.
  • You’re now free from pretrial jail and to prepare for your trial.
  • Once your trial is complete, ABC Bail Bonds will receive the entirety of your bail amount back from the court.
  • We keep the 10% fee, and you’re free to go home and pretend that none of this ever happened!

Property Bail Bonds

Property bail bonds work very similarly to cash bail bonds. However, the significant difference between those types of relationships is that, in a property bond, the property takes the place of cash as collateral. Every state in the country accepts property bonds.

To set up a property bond, you must use the entire property (you can’t use partial properties in a property bail bond). Generally, real estate is the most common type of property used in this type of bail bond.

However, be wary with property bail bonds. They tend to take much longer than a traditional surety bond through a bail bond agency. While you can complete a surety bond in several hours, property bonds generally take weeks to settle. That can take valuable pretrial preparation time away from defendants. Unless you don’t have any other options, surety bonds are usually a better choice than property bonds.

Citation Release Bonds

Citation release bonds are the most desired type of bonds on this list. Why? Because if you received citation release, then you were never taken into custody! But how do they work?

Citation release bonds exist for when an arresting officer issues a citation instead of arresting the accused. Traffic offenses are, by far, the most common type of citation release carried in the United States.

The unfortunate thing about citation release bonds is that you can’t formally request one. With the other types of bonds (like property and surety), you can officially request one of the other. Since citation releases come at the discretion of the arresting officer, you can’t formally request one. If taken into custody, then you will, no matter what, need to ask a different type of bond for release.

Recognizance Release Bonds

Recognizance release bonds are one of the most accessible kinds of bonds around. In a recognizance release, you won’t have to pay anything. All you have to do is make a promise to show up for all your appointed court dates. But, how do you go about getting a recognizance bond?

Well, just like citation release bonds, a recognizance release is given at the discretion of the arresting officer. You can’t request one, and you can’t use one unless the arresting officer deems it appropriate.

Immigration Bail Bonds

Immigration bail bonds are exceedingly complicated. They are only available to non-residents of the United States. There are stringent rules, regulations, and requirements behind immigration bail bonds.

Because immigration bail bonds are so exceptionally complex, we recommend that you do not try and navigate them on your own. Instead, enlist the services of our professional bondsmen. We know all the ins and outs of immigration bail, and we’re always standing by to help.

Federal Bail Bonds

Federal bail bonds are pretty much self-explanatory. They’re exactly what they sound like: bail bonds for federal offenses.

If accused of a felony, then the only type of bail bond available to you will be federal bail bonds. For help with federal bail bonds, you can always rely on the ABC Bail Bonds bondsmen for assistance.

Need Help? Contact ABC Bail Bonds

Bail is complicated. So why try and handle it on your own?

Here at ABC Bail Bonds, we know our way around every type of bail bond listed in this post. Our bondsmen are experienced, knowledgeable professionals who are always standing by to help. So, if you’ve been looking for a reliable, affordable, and professional bail bonds company, then you’ve come to the right place! Contact us here at ABC Bail Bonds for help with bail today!