How Money Bail Works

How Money Bail Works

Bail is used to define the act of releasing a person from jail prior to their court date. A person is subject to bail if, after arrest, it is determined that the person can be released pending trial: A. Unconditionally (given a personal bond), or B. Subject to some condition or set of conditions (A personal bond with pretrial supervision, money bond, electronic monitoring, etc.) A person is not eligible for bail if he or she is held during the pretrial process without  the option of release.

Types of Release

  • Personal recognizance or personal bond — A form of nonfinancial release where a person is released from jail on his or her written agreement to reappear for future court dates.
  • Monetary bond or money bond (aka money bail) — A monetary bond is a financial condition to release and generally comes in the form of either a secured or unsecured money bond.
  • What is a secured bond? — A bond is secured if the accused, or another person on the accused’s behalf, pays upfront to the court a set money amount upfront that the court requested as security for a person’s release.
  • Property bond — A bond that requires a person to pledge titles to real property that has a value of at least twice the bond amount. If the person does not appear for subsequently scheduled court dates the property may be seized. (E.g. a house or a farm).
  • Full cash bond — A bond where the accused is required to pay the full amount of the bond prior to being released.
  • 10% bond — A ten-percent bond is a money bond secured by a percentage of the whole bond amount (usually 10% — hence the name).
  • Surety bail bond — A bond where a surety (a person that is liable for paying another’s debt or obligation—typically a bail bond agent), posts the bond for the accused in return for a 10% nonrefundable fee.
  • What is an unsecured bond? — A bond is unsecured when it requires no upfront payment but becomes due and payable to the court if the accused fails to appear or otherwise comply with conditions of release.


Did you know that the United States leads the world in the number of pretrial detainees—detaining them at a rate that is three times the world average?

DISCLAIMER – The information on this website is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Every case depends on the specific facts and circumstances involved. To submit a complaint for review, please go to our Legal Help page.

Back to the ACLU of Ohio’s Bail page.