Warrant / Bail

A warrant is an order by the judge to law enforcement authorities to arrest an individual and bring him/her to court. Warrants are ordered when an individual fails to answer a summons, if the person being charged presents a risk of flight, or in the case of a failure to comply with a court order (i.e. payment of fines or conditions that are imposed as part of sentencing).

The bail amount is set by the judge when a warrant is ordered. Bail is money or credit deposited with the court in order to obtain the temporary release of the defendant. The purpose of bail is not to punish, but to assure a defendant's appearance in court at all stages of the case until its final disposition. Bail can be posted by the defendant or a surety, i.e., someone other than the defendant, or a corporate surety (bondsman).

Bail can be posted in the form of cash, check or bond. Other types of bail are Released on his/her Own Recognizance (ROR) or a 10% bail option, which is the prerogative of the judge. A defendant's failure to appear will result in the forfeiture of bail/bond and the issuance of a new warrant.

At the disposition of the case, bail posted in the form of cash can be applied to penalties with the authorization of the surety. If the use of bail money is not authorized, it is returned to the surety.