When an individual is arrested, she is taken before a judge. That judge decides whether or not to assign bail.No bail is assigned when an individual has skipped out on court appearances in the past, poses a flight risk, or committed a serious crime. In most cases, however, the judge assigns bail which means that the individual can be released until trial after she pays the amount set by the judge. The judge sets the amount based on the crime, age of the individual, how likely the individual is to flee, and whether the individual is a repeat offender.
Cash bail is also called a cash bond. The individual has a choice to pay the entire bail amount in cash. The cash is deposited, and the individual is released. The individual must return to court for all of the appointed trial dates in order to qualify for a full refund. If the individual misses the court dates, then the money is forfeited and the court can legally keep it. Bail amounts are usually high so it is a good incentive to make sure the individual shows up at court to get his or her money back. The money will be released within two months after the individual fulfills his obligations.
Bail bonds are also called surety bonds. They are the most popular form of bail. If the individual does not have enough cash to post bail, he can use a bond company. The bond company pays the bond for the individual and charges 10% of the bond as a fee. The bond company will get the bond money back if the individual shows up for court. So, if the bail was set at $5,000, then the bail company would charge $500 to the individual in need. The bond company doesn’t want to lose out on the bail money that they paid, so it makes sure the individual has a co-signer that is capable of paying the bail money back if the individual skips town. The co-signer is usually a friend or family member. That co-signer is responsible for the full amount if the individual doesn’t show up to court.
The above info is from eHow.com. More info can be found here.