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Bail Bonds in the Court of Common Pleas

What is a bail bond?

A bail bond is a written guarantee that a defendant will attend all further court proceedings. In setting bail, the Court weighs factors including risk of flight by the defendant, the safety of the community, and the defendant’s criminal history (if any). Bail may be imposed with certain conditions, such as, a no contact order with the alleged victim in the case.

What types of bonds are there?

There are four primary types of bonds: Signature or Own Recognizance (sometimes called “OR”), Unsecured, Secured, and Cash Only.

 How can bonds be posted?

Signature/Own Recognizance (or “OR”): The defendant is not required to pay any money, but must sign a bond guaranteeing their appearance for future court appearances.

Unsecured: The defendant signs a bond guaranteeing appearance for further hearings with the understanding that if the defendant does not appear he/she will be responsible for paying the Court a designated amount of money.

Secured: The defendant must pay a designated amount of money or post security in the amount of the bail in order to be released. This security can be in the form of cash or property and may be posted by the defendant or by someone on his/her behalf, e.g., a relative or a bail bondsman.

Cash Only: The defendant and/or a co-signer must pay a designated amount of money to the Court. The defendant and a co-signer, if any, must also sign a bond order guaranteeing the appearance of the defendant at further court proceedings.

When I sign a bond, what am I promising?

I am promising that the defendant will appear and that the defendant will follow conditions placed on him/her, such as no contact with the victim.

Where can I go to post bond and when?

Bonds for Court of Common Pleas defendants must be posted at the Court of Common Pleas Clerk’s Office during the regular business hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

If the person has been detained, where can I go pick up the person after bond is posted?

Upon posting bail, defendants shall be released from custody as to the offense on which the bail is posted. Once a facility has received an Order from the Court to release the defendant, the defendant will be released, and he/she may be picked up from the correctional facility.

What can I do if I want the bond changed?

 If you have posted bond and wish to change either the conditions or the amount, you must file a Motion to Modify Bond. A hearing will be scheduled and you will be notified in writing when to attend.

When do I get my money back on a bond?

 Once the defendant’s trial has concluded, the bail is returned to the individual who posted it.

What happens if the defendant does not show for Court as promised?

If the defendant fails to appear, he/she risks having the bail forfeited.