Is There a Difference Between Bail and Bond?

what is bail

Unless you have some experience with getting arrested and going to jail, you might not understand the differences between bail vs. bond.

If you or someone close to you is currently in jail, you might be scrambling to get answers.

You might run internet searches asking, What is bail? Or you might search, How does bail work?

If so, you will likely find a variety of confusing and potentially contradictory information, yet few concrete answers.

To address these and other questions you might have, the criminal defense attorneys of Cowboy Country Criminal Defense have put together some basic information about how to make bail. We will also explore how to get someone out of jail in Wyoming.

If you have questions about how bail works in Wyoming, contact our experienced team today to schedule a free consultation.

What Is Bail?

Upon arrest for a crime, the defendant appears before a judge. During this initial hearing, the court informs the defendant of the charges against them.

The court also informs the defendant of the potential penalties that they could face upon conviction. The judge then sets the amount of money that the defendant must pay to get out of jail. The law refers to this amount of money as bail. You must pay this amount to the court before you can be released.

The court holds your bail funds until such time as you resolve your case. Upon resolution, the court will release the money back to you, less any fines and court costs you owe.

If you can get your hands on the amount of money you need, the process is simple. If you do not have the funds available, you can explore the possibility of getting a bail bond.

What Is a Bail Bond?

Now that we have explored the concept of bail, we can get to the most pressing question at hand. What is the difference between bail vs. bond?

A bail bond, also known as an appearance bond, is a type of secured (surety) bond. This bond is essentially an insurance policy, assuring the court that the defendant will show up for their court date. To obtain a bail bond, you (or someone working on your behalf) must contact a bail bondsman.

Bail bondsmen are agents of federally registered surety companies. The bondsman, through the surety company, issues a bond to the court. This document ensures that the bondsman will post your full amount should you fail to appear in court.

In exchange for providing this assurance to the court, the bondsman charges you a fee. The typical fee is 10% of your bail amount. For example, say the judge sets your bail at $10,000.

In that case, you will likely have to pay the bail bondsman $1,000 in cash before they post your bond. This is a non-refundable fee. You might also have to pay some additional fees or costs for the bondsman’s services.

Typically, the bondsman will ask that you have a cosigner for the bond. They may even ask the cosigner to pledge an asset like their house or car as collateral.

If you fail to appear in court—known as skipping bail—the court will revoke your bail. The court will also issue a warrant for your arrest. If that happens, the cosigner must pay the full amount of your bail.

Otherwise, they must forfeit any pledged assets. You can also rest assured that the bondsman or their bounty hunter will come looking for you. Bondsmen and bounty hunters have the authority to apprehend you and return you to jail. 

How Does Bail Work in Wyoming?

In Wyoming, posting bail works as described above once a judge sets your bail amount. However, there are some specific facts that you should know.

For example, the Wyoming bail statute states that unless the alleged crime potentially carries the death penalty, an arrested person may be admitted to bail. However, the amount of bail is at the judge’s discretion.

Wyoming law states that the courts must grant an arrested person an appearance before a judge without unnecessary delay.

The statute further states that if no judge is available at the time of arrest—and if the court has not established a bail schedule or has no authorized individual available to accept bail at that time—that person shall be released from custody upon receipt and acceptance of a written citation and promise to appear. This is known as a “citation release.”

In other words, if no one can get a judge to set bail, they must release you. If they do not release you, you can contact a criminal defense lawyer to help get you out of jail. Talking to a lawyer also makes sense because you face criminal charges.

How Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help?

If you have been arrested in Wyoming, having the assistance of a criminal defense lawyer can be invaluable. You likely have many questions and concerns on your mind, the first of which might be, How does posting bail work in Wyoming?

A Wyoming criminal defense lawyer from Cowboy Country Criminal Defense can answer your questions and help you determine your next steps. We explain the charges you’re facing—as well as any potential penalties—and help you explore your options.

Having a criminal conviction on your record can negatively affect every aspect of your life. You need someone who is willing and able to fight for you, your future, and your freedom.

Call us at 307-333-7884, or contact us online to let us put our experience to work for you!

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