Glossary of Bail Bond Terms in Southern California

Bail Bond Glossary Appeal

A process by which the prosecution or defense requests a new trial be held in a higher court to determine if a decision made by the primary court was accurate.


A formal proceeding where the defendant submits to the court.


A court appearance where the defendant will make a plea to the court regarding the charges filed.


Security, often a set amount of money, exchanged for the defendant’s release from jail guaranteeing their presence in all scheduled court trials; also used to describe the defendant’s release from jail after monetary payment of set amount has been posted.

Bail Bond

One method used to release a defendant awaiting trial.  A legal agreement is made between the defendant, or someone signing on their behalf, and a licensed bail bond agency.  The agency will forfeit the total amount of bail money set if the defendant fails to appear in court for all trial dates.

Bail Bondsman

A licensed agent who supplies a bail bond to the defendant. The bondsman is then financially responsible for the full bail amount should the defendant miss their court date.

Bail Forfeiture

If the defendant fails to appear in court for their scheduled hearings, the bail bond will be forfeited, requiring the bail bondsman to either return the defendant to court or pay for the full amount of bail.

Bail Schedule

A list of suggested bail amounts associated with specific crimes.  Each county in California will have their own bail schedule.  The final bail amount is subject to the judge’s discretion.

Bounty Hunter

A person who captures fugitives from the law for a set monetary award.


List of hearings arranged for an individual’s case in court.


Any proceeding, cause, controversy or lawsuit initiated by the court system.

Cash Bond

The defendant must supply the court with a specified amount of cash in exchange for their release from jail.


Assets that are promised as part of a bond repayment in a case where the defendant is not able to repay the bond with cash.


Location where justice is administered.

Court Administrator

Manager of administrative affairs of the court.

Court Commissioner

A judicial officer who may perform many similar duties as a judge or justice.


The failure of a person to appear in court for a scheduled trial.


Person charged with the crime.


The individual signing for the bail bond who agrees to take full responsibility should the bail bond become forfeited.


An appointed or elected public official who must decide cases in the court of law.


The geographic area where the court is able to decide cases or their authority to hear a case.


A claim upon a property when the property owner has a debt.  For instance, a bail bondsman may take out a lien against a defendant’s home until the loan is repaid.


Conclusion of the legal matter.


An official authorization given to authorities to perform an act related to a case.  An arrest warrant gives authorities the ability to arrest a suspect.

After reading our bail bonds glossary, please see our bail bonds FAQs for more information.