A bail bond is a legal document that gives bail in order for a defendant to be released from jail until their trial date. Once a judge decides on a bail amount a defendant has three choices in how to proceed. The defendant may choose to stay in jail until the trial date, pay the bail bond amount in full or contact a bail bondsman. Bail bondsmen are at times also referred to as bail bond agents. Bail bond agents guarantee the bail of a defendant with the court for a fee (which is typically 10 percent of the bail). Once a bail bond is paid, the defendant is released from custody until the trial date. If a bail bond agent was involved and the defendant does not return as instructed for court, the bail bondsman is responsible for the full bond amount and will often hire a bounty hunter to locate and return the defendant to the authorities.