Bail is the posting of cash or property to release an arrested person from custody and to ensure they appear at their court date. For example, if a person’s bail is set at $1000 dollars, they must post $1000 for them to be released. Bail is returned if a person makes all of their court appearances or if the judge agrees to return the bail prior to the end of the case. If a person has posted bail and fails to appear at court, the judge will likely keep the bail and it will be forfeited in addition to issuing a bench warrant. Two things to remember:

  • If you post bail for someone else, you better make sure they make all of their court appearances or the judge will keep the bail.
  • Bail is not a fine, nor is it a way of resolving a case. Bail is only to have a person released from custody. Posting of bail does not end the case nor does it mean that a person does not have to show up at future court dates.


Bond is similar to bail in the sense that it is a way to be released from custody. In order to get bonded out of custody, you must locate and contact a bond company. Bond companies charge a person a fee which is usually calculated by a percentage of the bail (typically 10%). For example, if a person’s bail is set at $1000 and you cannot afford to post the $1000, you can pay $100 to the bond company and they will post the full amount of $1000. You do not get the $100 back if you show up to all your court dates because that money went to the bondsman. If you miss a court date, the court will takes the bond companies’ $1000 and issue a bench warrant for your arrest. The only way for them to get it back is to find you and turn you in on the bench warrant. Oftentimes, in addition to a fee, bond companies require a person to sign over some form of collateral or have a cosigner in the event you miss a court date.


Bench warrants are issued when a person misses a court date. At the time the bench warrant is ordered by the judge, the judge will also set an amount of bail. Once a bench warrant is issued, you will not have any further court dates and will be unable to resolve a case until the bench warrant is cleared. Additionally, if you are bench warranted for a criminal traffic case, a stopper will be placed on your driver’s license and will only be cleared when the case is completely resolved.

For traffic violations, or decriminalized traffic offenses, if you miss a court date, the judge will likely enter default judgment against you. Default judgments are monetary fines and fees.


Contact the facility where the arrested person is being held. i.e. if the person is at HPD, contact HPD. If a person is at Oahu Community Correctional Center (OCCC), contact them.