The ABC’s of Bail Bonds

The ABC’s of Bail Bonds

As you can imagine, being arrested is not only a terrifying experience but it’s a very confusing one as well. Whether it’s your first time facing incarceration or your third, the system is very complicated and takes someone embedded in the industry to help you navigate the murky waters. Here at Van Pool Bail Bonds in Berkeley, we want to ensure your experience is as simple as possible.

The first step in providing you with handheld guidance throughout the process is to help you understand common bail bond terms.*

Arrest – When one is taken or kept in custody by the authority of the law.
Bail – The temporary release of an inmate marked by the exchange of security for the inmate’s appearance at a future hearing.
Bail Agent – A bail agent is a person who pledges (many times on behalf of a company) to pay the full amount of bail to guarantee that the defendant will appear in court. In the state of California, all bail agents are required to be certified.
Bail Bond – A type of bond given by a defendant or a surety to ensure the terms and requirements of the bail are met and the defendant appears in court.
Collateral – A piece of property pledged by someone borrowing money to protect the interests of the lender.
Co-Signer – A second, or third, signer of a bail bond to ensure payment is made to the lender.
Defendant – A person who is being accused of committing a crime by the plaintiff.
Forfeiture – When one forfeits property or money due to a breach of their legal obligation.
Indemnitor – The person who pays the premium fee to the bail bond company. The indemnitor is responsible for ensuring the defendant complies with the court schedule.
Plaintiff – A person who brings about legal action against a defendant.
Reinstatement – When one fails to appear in court, the bail bond agency can request their warrant be removed and the bail bond reactivated by the court system.
Surety – A person who has become legally liable of the debt, default, or failure of another person. In the justice system, this person is typically the bail bond agency.
Summary Judgment – This occurs when the defendant does not make their court appearance and they have not sought reinstatement by the deadline.


We hope you are never in the situation where knowing this terminology is necessary, but if it is, don’t get fooled by the judiciary jargon. We always want to make sure your needs and are met and we are absolutely here to help guide you through every step of the way.

Contact Van Pool Bail Bonds in Berkeley to help ensure your bail bonds process is simple and hassle-free.

Please note that these terms and definitions were derived from Merriam-Webster Dictionary.