Bail Bond Terms and Definitions

Indianapolis Bail Bonds 317-876-9600

Indianapolis Bail Bonds 317-876-9600

Terms on the topic of law enforcement, courts, trials, charges, and more can all be very confusing for a first-time criminal. It is important for anyone arrested or suspected of a crime to fully understand the proceedings of the law and what to expect. One must educate themselves on the law and the terms used to describe the circumstances in which they face. The initial step in learning how to understand legal and jail jargon is to catch up on some basic terms and definitions commonly used.

Below is a list of terms you should be familiar with if you or a loved one has been arrested, convicted, charged, or suspected of a crime.

Bail Bond Glossary


Individuals that have committed a crime are arrested and taken to the county jail by law enforcement. They are detained in jail until they can make bail or go to court.


County detention center where criminals are detained under law; either serving a sentence or awaiting trial.


A person that is detained in jail for committing a crime; either serving time or awaiting trial.


Money paid in place of an inmate’s temporary release from jail while awaiting their initial hearing. Individuals who deposit the bail take on the responsibility of the inmate. They have to forfeit the money paid if the inmate fails to appear for their hearing.

Bail Bond

A written contract used to release an inmate from legal custody, usually between a bail bondsman and/or other surety; but only upon the guarantee that an inmate appear for their scheduled court hearing. If they fail to appear, the bail bondsman or guarantor forfeits the money paid for their release from jail. If the inmate shows for their hearing, the guarantor or surety receives their money deposit back in full.

Bail Bondsman

A person or company that acts as a surety and pledges the full bond amount to the courts in trade for an inmate’s release from jail; on the guarantee that the inmate appear for their court date, otherwise forfeiting the money paid. These agencies charge a non-refundable fee that is a legally-mandated percentage of an inmate’s total bond amount (Generally 10-15%).


The person that co-signs, guarantees, and is responsible for an inmate’s appearance in court. The indemnitor is held accountable for the entire bond amount, plus additionally incurred fees (i.e. fugitive recovery fees, filing fees, processing fees, legal costs, etc.), if an inmate misses their hearing.


Property given in place of cash to a bail bondsman in trade for services rendered (i.e. boats, cars, fine jewelry, real estate, etc.).

Failure to Appear – FTA

Absent for scheduled mandatory court hearings. This is an additional criminal charge.


In the case of an FTA, an indemnitor or guarantor must pay courts bond in full or relinquish collateral pledged for an inmate’s bail. The courts generally send a “Notice of Forfeiture” to the bail bondsman to disclose an inmate’s FTA and date in which the bond amount must be paid in full to the court.


An inmate that has failed to appear for their scheduled court date, an escapee from a corrections facility, or individuals that have a warrant out for their arrest.

Arrest Warrant

A legal decree that gives law enforcement permission arrest an individual that is a known fugitive or suspected of a crime. FTA’s also have warrants issued for their arrest. For example, if a person is pulled over for a traffic violation and has an arrest warrant, they can be arrested and taken to jail on the spot.

Aiding and Abetting

Knowingly providing money, food, help, assistance, or shelter to a fugitive.

Now that you have a better understanding of what terms and jargon to expect when getting involved in legal dealings and the bail industry, you can be confident contacting a bail bondsman for professional guidance and service. Choose a bail bond company that has an established and respected reputation within your community. They will have the best relationships with the local law enforcement, jails, and courts.

Woods Bail Bonds in Indianapolis, IN

Woods Bail Bonds Indiana 317-876-9600

Woods Bail Bonds Indiana 317-876-9600

Call James Woods at 317-876-9600 for more information about bail bond services in Indianapolis, Indiana. He and our team of licensed, bonded, and insured bail bondsmen are eager to help you understand the bail bond industry by answering all of your bail and arrest warrant questions. We provide services in several counties within Indiana and offer 24 hour assistance, seven days a week. If you have an arrest warrant, or need to bail a friend out of jail, we are the highly trained, professional, and experienced Indianapolis bail bondsman to trust. Contact Woods Bail Bonds at 317-876-9600 today!

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