Arrested in Memphis? Better Know How Bail Bonds Work in Tennessee!

To better understand how bail bonds work in Tennessee, it is important to first know the process of bail bonds, how they apply to defendants who are charged and the deposit system along with other fees that may apply. While the bail bonds Tennessee system is governed by the state, the rules and regulations are very similar to all other states in how they operate.

The Bail Bonds System in Tennessee

A bail bond is essentially an insurance policy that is offered by the bail bondsman that allows for the fulfillment of the bail set by the court. In return, the bail bonds Tennessee agency provides the assurance and security that the defendant will appear in court at the appointed time.

Bail bond agencies are all licensed by the state of Tennessee Department of Insurance and must meet all requirements and follow their rules and regulations. Most bail bond agencies in the state are family owned and operated as they have been for many years. This means that a defendant will often deal with bail bond agencies that have decades of experience.

In Tennessee, bail is usually set by the local court within 72 hours of the crime being charged. There are five basic types of bail bonds;

  1. Cash Bail Bond: This is where the defendant, friend or family member puts up the entire bond in cash.
  2. Corporate Bail Bond: This is issued by the bail bonds Tennessee agency as purchased by the defendant.
  3. Property Bond: This bond uses real estate that is at least twice the value of the bail as collateral.
  4. Federal Bond: This is for an interstate crime.
    Appeal Bond: This is used when the defendant is waiting appeal of their case to a higher court.

It is the corporate bond that involves a bail bond agency where a defendant will put up a non-refundable fee and other collateral in order to post bail with the court.

Tennessee Bail Bonds Charges & Fees

In Tennessee, the bail bond agency or bondsmen charges a non-refundable fee of 10% of the total amount of the bail itself. For example, a bail of $1,000 will require at least $100 from the defendant or a family member or friend that posts the fee on their behalf. There is no specific law that governs the amount that a bail bonds agency can charge in Tennessee, but 10% is the norm for most.

If the defendant cannot come up with the amount necessary, then a co-signer is necessary if they have the required amount. There are conditions that the state of Tennessee does place on defendants who have been granted bail:

  • The defendant must keep their job
  • Obey a daily curfew
  • Submit to drug testing
  • Limits on travel
  • Check-in with authorities
These conditions are not part of the bail bonds agency. If the defendant does not show up for their court date, then the bail bondsmen can have a bounty hunter track them down and bring them to court if necessary.

Video: How Bail Bonds Work in Tennessee

Tennessee Bail Bonds Information


How does bail bonds work in Tennessee? The courts will set a defendant’s bail and the bail bond company will post the bond at only 10%. A co-signor guarantees the full amount of bail to the bondsman will be paid if the defendant does not appear in court for trial.

For more information on how bail bonds work in Tennessee, please visit the website of the Tennessee Department of Insurance which governs and oversees the bail process.