Bail Bonds are made possible by a bail bond agent or bondsman who acts as a guarantor and assurances specific amount of money or property as directed by the judge, for the appearance of an individual who has been accused in a court of law. Normally, some financial institutions such as insurance companies or banks work as guarantors, but in almost every case are reluctant of placing physical assets on an accused, due to the great amount of risk involved in posting a bail bond. A bail bondsman or a bail bond agent, on the other hand, operates on the same line as that of a bank or insurance company but caters specifically to criminal defendants and helps in securing their client's release in a matter of hours.
Bail bondsmen are exclusive to the United States of America, and Philippines. The industry of the bonds agents is made of a number of trade associations, but forms an umbrella group in the United States with the American Bail Coalition.
According to historical records, bail bonds or surety bails were first seen in ancient Iraq. Stone carvings of over 4000 years ago showed that subjects were freed from prison by having a guarantor pay a certain amount in currency and vow that the defendant would show up in court assured by the sponsor's property such as his livestock. Modern day bail Bonds were introduced by Peter and Tom McDonough in 1898, in San Francisco.
In most cases bail bondsmen have a standing arrangement with court officials as well as any financial institution such as a credit provider or a bank to draw on security, even on days or hours when the financial institution may not be operating.
Every bail bondsman or agent has long drawn bail bond agreements that are usually certified and validated by a legal and financial authority.