Man in black suit jacket sitting beside woman in black long sleeve shirt

Bail Bonds: Conditional Vs. Unconditional

If anyone has been arrested, a conversation about bail has happened. When hearing on the news of someone being arrested, we will either hear that they got out on bail or that bail is set at a certain amount. But there is more to it than just what is seen or heard on the news. Bail is an agreement between the court and the defendant so they can be released from jail before the trial. In exchange, they will follow a list of rules the court sets. There are different types of bail bonds, two specifically being conditional and unconditional bail bonds.


A conditional bail is usually set when the defendant shows signs of attempting to escape. When this happens, the court will set up conditions for their release, and if they fail to follow them, they will lose their bail privileges and return to jail until their trial.

Some of the restrictions set can include restrictions on travel outside of the state they were arrested in. They may also have a third party to supervise them, and The court may place a restraining order. Surprise drug testing is also a common condition. The defendant is expected to comply with all the conditions set unless they want to head back to prison.


An unconditional bail bond is more unstructured and does not have early as many rules. This bail bond is usually set when the defendant is not believed to be a flight risk and the charges against them are not as significant. The court may also decide on the unconditional bond if they do not pose a threat to society and have no prior criminal activity.

The word unconditional may make it sound like there are no conditions to the bail, but there are a couple of rules the defendant must follow to get out of jail before trial. The only two conditions are that the defendant must show up for their trial hearing and they need to follow the state’s laws.

Bail Bonds
Bail Bonds

Choosing Between the Two

There is a chance a judge will allow a defendant to choose if they want unconditional or conditional bail. However, the unconditional bail will be set at a higher price than the conditional option, so those who cannot afford the more expensive bail may have no choice but to choose the conditional option. Other times, depending on the defendant’s previous record, they may not get a choice at all.