Bail is money or some form of property that is deposited or pledged to a court, in order to secure the release from custody or jail of a suspect who has been arrested, with the understanding that the suspect will return for their trial and required court appearances. Bail is a mechanism to release suspects from imprisonment pre-trial, while ensuring their return for trial. If the suspect does not return to court, the bail is forfeited, and the suspect may possibly be brought up on charges of the crime of failure to appear. If the suspect returns to make all their required appearances, bail is returned after the trial is concluded. In some cases, bail money may be returned at the end of the trial, if all court appearances are made, regardless of whether the person is found guilty or not guilty of the crime accused.
Bail laws vary from country to country; in the United States, bail practices vary by state. In some countries, granting bail is common. Even in such countries, however, bail may not be offered by some courts under some circumstances; for instance, if the accused is considered likely not to appear for trial regardless of bail. Legislatures may also set out certain crimes to be not bailable, such as those that carry the penalty of capital punishment. Even for lesser crimes, bail will not be granted if it is deemed likely that the accused will flee, tamper with evidence, or commit the same offense before trial. Bail amounts may vary depending on the type and severity of crime the suspect is accused of; practices for determining bail amounts vary.
Some states in the United States, as well as the Philippines, allow a commercial bail bondsman to post bail on behalf of individuals; the bondsman in turn charges a non-refundable fee for this service, often a percentage of the bail. This practice is illegal in the rest of the world.