Glossary of Terms


An arraignment is the very first court appearance that the defendant appears before a Judge or Magistrate. This is when the formal charges will be read, and the bail bond is set. Michigan courts can actually conduct arraignments via video conference. The arraignment, however, must be open to the public.

Fee (bail bond fee):

The state regulated fee is ten percent of the bail bond liability, in California.

Pretrial Hearing:

A Pretrial Hearing is when a District Court Judge will make a determination in misdemeanor cases to determine whether sufficient evidence exists to believe a crime has been committed, and that the defendant in question did in fact commit the crime. A defendant has the opportunity to enter a plea, and a trial date will be set.

10% Deposit Bond:

The defendant, or anyone else, may post the bond, if the court permits.  10% of the full amount of bail can be paid to the court. The court will keep the 10%, and possibly the fines, costs, and restitution from the deposit before returning it to the person who posted it.

Surety Bond:

The bail bondsman, or bail bond agency provides this to the court with the assurance that the defendant will indeed appear before the court when required. Simply put, the Surety Bond is like a certified check. Should the defendant fail to appear, the court keeps the money.  Before the bail bondsman or bail bond agency can claim the money back, they will need to bring the defendant back before the court.

Cash/Surety Bond:

This means the court requires the full amount of the bail to be paid in cash, or there is an option to post the full amount via a licensed bail bond firm. The bail bond firm will have to provide the full amount in the form of a surety bond.


Liability is the amount of bail bond that the bonding company has to provide to the court. The amount is dependent upon what bond is set by the court.

Bail Bond:

The means of assuring that a defendant will appear for any and all scheduled court appearances.