San Antonio Bail Bond Legal Terms and Definitions You Should Know

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It can be terrifying and confusing when someone gets arrested in San Antonio. When you hear the news that a loved one is behind bars, you may get hit by a lot of confusing terms and legal jargon. Here are a few terms and legal descriptions you might come across in the San Antonio bail bonds process.

Common San Antonio Bail Bond Terms and Definitions:


The person being accused of committing a crime. Sometimes used interchangeably with “Defendant.”


One of the first court hearings the accused will face. It consists of reading them the charges in the arrest documents and asking them how they plead.


A sum of money that must be paid before the accused may be released from jail before trial. Typically the judge will set the bail amount based on the severity of the alleged crime and how confident they are that the defendant will appear in court.

Learn about the difference between felony and misdemeanor bail.

Bail Bond

A written agreement stating that the bail bond agent will pay the full amount of bail or forfeit collateral if the defendant doesn’t show up to their scheduled court date. It’s also sometimes called an “appearance bond.”

Bail Bondsman/Bail Bond Agent

A person assigned to guarantee a defendant’s appearance at all scheduled court dates. Bail bond agents often charge a 10% fee for their services. They might require the defendant to offer up collateral or have the bond co-signed.

Licensed Bondsman/Bail Bond Agent

A person or company authorized by a government to arrange bail for people accused of crimes. Licensing ensures that your bail agent engages in legitimate practices and can be held accountable for any misdoings. Make sure you only secure a bail bond with a licensed bail bond agent.

Bail Conditions

Bail Conditions are terms set by the court to make sure the defendant will be present at assigned court dates. Examples of this may include agreeing to forfeit their passport, have continued employment, and other conditions as the court sees fit.

Bond Premium

It is a fee that the defendant pays to the bondsman to get the bail bond. It is usually 10% of the total bail amount. The premium amount depends on which state you live in, but most states, like Indiana, have a 10% fee.

Bond Indemnitor

Also called a co-signer. Usually, a third-party who guarantees that the defendant will appear for all of their court hearings. The co-signer often has to put up collateral as well.


Anything of value provided by the defendant to guarantee that the bondsman will be paid in full. Common types of collateral are real estate, vehicles, valuable items, cash, or credit card.


A person required to appear in court and answer a legal action or lawsuit.

Federal Bonds

They are bail bonds for criminal cases in federal courts. Typically, the bond is higher due to the risk and complexity involved in processing.


This takes place if the defendant fails to show up for their court appearance and the bail bond agent is forced to pay the full bail amount. In rare cases, the bail bonds company will hire a person known as a “bounty hunter” to bring the defendant into custody.

Skipping Bail

A defendant intentionally appearing at their court hearing. If the defendant doesn’t show up, the judge can order a bench warrant and charge the full amount of bail from the bail bond agent.


A bail bond agent or other person who is responsible for ensuring the defendant appears in court. When a bail bond is signed, the bail bond agent acts as a surety.


A written order from a judge commanding a member of law enforcement to arrest the person named in it or to search for and/or seize property described in the order.

Hopefully, you’ll never need to use any of this information. But if you find yourself in a situation where you need a bail bond agent in the San Antonio area, River City Bail Bonds can answer all of your questions and help you through the bail bonds process.

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