While the words you hear a bail agent use might not be as confusing as much of the “legalese” that you’ll hear in a courtroom, there are still some terms that you might not be familiar with. Still, getting bail money is part of the legal process, and therefore you might hear some terms that you might not use on a daily basis. Let’s take a look at some of the words and phrases that might you might hear when talking to a bondsman.


Bail is the amount of money that a judge has decided has to be kept by the court in order to secure someone’s release from jail. Keeping this money ensures that a person will return to court. We say that this money is “kept by the court” and not “paid to the court” because the money will be returned as long as the accused shows up on the trial date.

Bail Bond

Because most people don’t have the full amount in order to cover bail, they will often use a bail bond agency to put the money up for them. The bail bond agent lets the court keep the full bail amount and charges the person seeking bail a premium, usually around 10-percent of the full bail amount.


A bondsman or bondswoman is someone who works at a bail bond agency and helps secure payment of the bond. This person collects the premium as payment for the money needed to cover the bail.


The premium is the amount of money that a bail bond service will charge in order to give its money over to the court to keep. Premiums are usually around 10% of the full bail amount. For instance, if the judge sets bail at $50,000, the premium would be $5,000. The bail bond agency lets the court keep the $50,000 for a short time and keeps the premium for the service. The premium is not returned whether the accused is found innocent or guilty.  

Bail Now, Pay Later

We understand that there are circumstances in which even the premium can be difficult to come by, and that’s where our “buy now, pay later” option comes in. We can help your friend or relative out of jail and make arrangements for you to pay the premium later.

Bounty Hunter

There are many different names for someone who’s a bounty hunter, including a fugitive recovery agent, bail enforcement agent, or bail recovery agent. A bounty hunter is someone who is hired by a bail agency and is authorized to track and retrieve someone who has skipped bail and not shown up for their court date. Bondsmen will always try to contact someone who has skipped bail before sending a bounty hunter.

Alright, that’s enough for now. We’ll be back with some more terms next time. Until then, contact J & J Bail Bonds the next time you need help getting someone out of jail.