A person who binds himself for the payment of a sum of money or for the performance of something else, for another, who is already bound for the same. A surety differs from a guarantor, and the latter cannot be sued until after a suit against the principal.

The surety differs from bail in this, that the latter actually has, or is by law presumed to have, the custody of his principal, while the former has no control over him. The bail may surrender his principal in discharge of his obligation; the surety cannot be discharged by such surrender.

In Pennsylvania it has been decided that the creditor is bound to sue the principal when requested by the surety, and the debt is due; and that when proper notice is given by the surety that unless the principal be sued, be will consider himself discharged, he will be so considered, unless the principal be sued. But in general a creditor may resort to the surety for the payment of his debt in the first place, without applying to the principal.


A security entered into before. Some competent court or officer, by a party accused, together with some other person, in the form of recognizance to the commonwealth in a certain sum of money, with, a condition that the accused shall keep the peace towards all the citizens of the commonwealth. A security for good behaviour is a similar recognizance with a condition that the accused shall be of good behaviour.

This security may be demanded by a court or officer having jurisdiction from all persons who threatened to kill or to, injure others, or who by their acts give reason to believe they will commit a breach of the peace. And even after an acquittal a prisoner may be required to give scourity of the peace or good behaviour, when the circumstances of the case justify a court in believing the public good requires it.

To obtain surety to keep the peace, the party requiring it must swear or affirm be fears a present or future danger, and not merely swear or affirm to a breach of the peace which is past; it is usual, however, to state such injuries, and when the circumstances warrant it, a threat of their repetition, as a legitimate ground for fearing future injury, which fear must always be stated.

A recognizance to keep the peace is forfeited only by an actual attack or threat of bodily harm, or burning a house, and the like, but not by bare words.