What is an Appearance Bond?


Appearance Bond Definition

An appearance bond also referred to as an unsecured appearance bond, is an agreement that you will show up for court proceeding after being released from custody. The defendant also promises not to engage in conduct prohibited by the court. Essentially, you agree in writing to appear for court dates and pay a fee if you fail to appear.

Secured and Unsecured Bond

If the defendant does not post collateral or cash, the appearance bond is considered unsecured. It is not the same as an unsecured appearance bond (bail bond). The bond is secure if the court requires collateral, property, or cash. An unsecured appearance bond contains a promise to pay a certain amount of money if the accused fails to show up for court dates. Generally, the court offers unsecured is offered when the judge has little reason to believe the defendant will fail to appear as required.

The defendant does not pay unless they fail to show up for court date and a court order for its forfeiture. The court may require someone else to sign the appearance bond and promise to pay if the accused fail to show up in court. The person who signs the appearance bond is called a surety bond. They assure the state the defendant will show up in court when called upon. Ideally, the court assumes the defendant would not have a relative or find a bail bondsman to pay amount because they have failed to appear in court.

Usually, the courts set monetary amounts. If the bond is forfeited, the collateral becomes property of the state or city. The court can’t give refunds. The amount of bail bonds varies depending on the seriousness of the case.

Is Posting Bond Compulsory?

The court will release the defendant without bond under certain conditions. If the court accepts the defendant’s promise to appear in court, this is known as its own recognizance. The third-Party release is when the accused is released upon another person’s promise

This procedure is also known as release on own recognizance, personal recognizance, or no-cost bail. The judge may decide to release you without bail if you are arrested for a minor crime, like a misdemeanor. However, the decision will be based on your prior criminal record, specific charges, and danger to the public. You have high chances of being released on appearance bonds if jail is crowded.


Purpose of an Appearance Bond

The purpose of an appearance bond is to provide convenience to the accused who is yet to be convicted. The bond does not interfere with or defeat the administration of justice.

Strive to Appear During a Court Date

Failure to appear for court proceedings will attract a whole lot of trouble. First, the court will issue a warrant for arrest. This means that you will be held without bail once apprehended. Besides losing bail bonds, you risk getting additional fines and court fees. In some cases, the court will give the defendant another chance to appear.

The appearance bond can be, whether secured or unsecured. However, the defendant must promise in the form of a  written agreement to show up for court dates. Failure to appear will lead to bond forfeiture and other severe measures.