The temporary release of an accused person awaiting trial, sometimes on condition that a sum of money be lodged to guarantee their appearance in court.
There are many long and good explanations about the bail process, here is our short version –
By default when a person is arrested they will sit in jail until their trial, or they post a bail bond and are released pending the outcome of the trial.
Using $5000 as the example of a persons bail, anybody could walk into the magistrates office pay the $5000 and the defendant walks out. When the case is completely done, the person who posted the bail gets their $5000 back (innocent, guilty, dismissed, probation, whatever….).
If the defendant or family or friends cannot pay the full $5000, they can pay a bail bondsman a percentage of the $5000 and get the defendant released. When the case is completely done the person who posted the bail does not get their money back.
When a bail bond is posted the defendant and Cosigner promise the bondsman and State the defendant will appear in court or pay the full amount of the bail bond if the defendant skips ($5000 in our example).
The defendant and Cosigner are responsible for ensuring the defendant is in court on their scheduled date. The Cosigner is obligated to cooperate in all matters with the bondsman and pay the bondsman the full amount of the bond if the defendant skips.