When a person is arrested or charged with a crime a court date will be set.  At the first court date a judge will set conditions of release and bail in two amounts.  The higher amount will allow an individual to be released without conditions that need to be followed to be released.  The second lower number will allow release but only if the defendant agrees to follow conditions of the court.

For example John Smith is arrested for 3rd degree DWI.  At the first hearing the judge agrees to release Mr. Smith without conditions if he can post $12,000.00 or $1,000.00 if Mr. Smith agrees to be on an alcohol monitor.

Bail

Mr. Smith has the decision of either posting bail by bringing cash or a certified check for $12,000.00 or, if he is willing to agree to the release conditions, $1,000.00 to Court Administration.

If you post bail, the money will be returned to you at the end of your case minus court costs and fines, as long as you follow the rules of court.  If you miss court or break the conditions of release the court can forfeit your bail.

Bond

The second option is contacting a bail bondsman.  A bondsman will provide a bond to the court in return for a payment from the defendant or someone on his behalf. A Bondsman typically charge between 10-20% of the cost of the bail posted.  For example, Mr. Smith would need to pay the bondsman between $1,200.00 and $2,400.00 to be released without conditions.  If Mr. Smith was agreeable to conditions of release it would cost between $100 and $200.  If your bail is posted, the bondsman will keep the money paid in exchange for providing the funds at the end of the case.  You do not receive a refund or court costs paid.

Each of these methods will allow a defendant to be released from jail.  Which one is utilized is up the defendant and their attorney.