If you’re trying to find a bond, then chances are you’re reading or hearing a lot of bonds terminology. If you’ve never purchased a bond before, then you may not fully understand what all these terms mean. Therefore, we thought we should compile a sort of glossary to help you through the bail bond buying process.

BAIL, n. – Today, many people use “bail” and “bail bonds” interchangeably but for clarity’s sake, the term “bail” refers specifically to the money you pay to the court or to a bail agent. The total bail amount typically far exceeds the price of a bond.

BAIL CONDITION, n. – The court may set out certain conditions to make sure the defendant will appear during the trial depending on the defendant’s specific crime and record.

BOND, n. – A bond functions as a contract that stipulates the specific dates of court hearing and the amount of bail that a defendant must pay to the bail bond agent. A defendant enters this contract with a bail bondsman if s/he cannot afford the bail amount.

COLLATERAL, n. -This refers to the goods or property that is used as a form of security against a loan or bond. A collateral item is automatically forfeited if the conditions are not satisfactorily met by the defendant. Some of the most common items used as collateral are vehicles, houses and jewelry. Collateral shows the court and bond company that you have substantial resources to meet the bail requirements.

DEFENDANT, n. – The defendant is the accused individual. During a criminal trial, the defendant will be provided with a fair and reasonable amount of time to explain and defend his or her case with the help of a lawyer.

FORFEITURE, n. – The court clearly requires that the defendant must appear for the trial. In case this requirement is not met, the court will notify the bond company. In some instances, the court will set another date and if the defendant fails to show, the whole bail amount will not be returned. Sometimes in these situations, the bail bond company will hire a fugitive recovery agent to keep track of the defendant’s whereabouts.

INDEMNITOR, n. – A defendant must find a co-signer for the bail bond in order to make sure someone will be held responsible if the accused fails to do his or her part. An indemnitor or co-signer will be held accountable for all the legal expenses incurred during the trial and owe the entire bail amount to the court or bail bondsman if the defendant does not