What is a bail bondsman?
A bail bond agent, or bondsman, is any person or corporation that will act as a surety and pledge money or property as bail for the appearance of a criminal defendant in court. Although banks, insurance companies and other similar institutions are usually the sureties on other types of contracts, such entities are reluctant to put their depositors or policyholders funds at the kind of risk involved in posting a bail bond. Bail bond agents, on the other hand, are usually in the business to cater to criminal defendants, often securing their customers release in just a few hours.
What is bail?
Traditionally, bail is some form of property deposited or pledged to a court to persuade it to release a suspect from jail, on the understanding that the suspect will return for trial or forfeit the bail (and possibly be brought up on charges of the crime of failure to appear). If a bondsman is used, and a surety bond has been obtained, the fee for that bond is the fee for the insurance policy purchased and is not refundable.