California Bail Bonds
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We provide our clients with the local assistance they need to obtain affordable bail bonds.
What happens if you get arrested in California?
If a loved one or family member is arrested, your first thought is probably how to get them out of jail as quickly as possible. But, many people are not familiar with the bail process. After law enforcement brings them to county jail, they will have to undergo a bail hearing where a judge will set their bail amount. That will need to be paid in order for them to be release pending their trial date. They may not have a bail amount set at all, however, or they may not be given the option of release depending on the severity of the charges.
How do I pay bail in California?
Navigating the bail system can be confusing, and most of the time, you are navigating it while stressed and worried about a loved one or family member. Once the bail amount is set for the defendant, you have the option of paying cash to the county court. This is also known as "cash bail." Once you have paid the bail amount to the court, the defendant will be released until their court appearance and don't have to wait in jail for their court date. Once you post bail, if the defendant fails to attend the trial, you forfeit the money that you paid for bail. However, if they do make their court appearance, you get the full bail amount refunded back to you.
If the bail schedule (or bail amount) is set high enough that you cannot pay it in cash, you may need to work with a bail bond company or bail bondsman to get the bail money. They will take a fee (usually 10% of the bail amount) and pay the remaining 90% to the court on your behalf. Many bail bondsmen also accept credit cards for the initial fee. They may require additional collateral if they are concerned about the flight risk of the defendant. A cosigner is often required as well if the collateral of the defendant isn't valuable enough to cover the bail fee. The bail bond agent acts as a short term loan for the defendant's release and also takes on the liability with the court to ensure the defendant appears. If the defendant fails to appear, the collateral will be seized by the bail bond agency in order to pay the fees to the court. The bail bondsman may also employ the services of a bounty hunter to bring the defendant to the county jail if it looks like they may not appear.
How are bail schedules (or bail amounts) set in the state of California?
In California, similarly to other states, the bail schedules are set at the county level. Bail for the same offense could be different in Los Angeles than in San Diego or Sacramento. Bail for They will be based on a variety of factors. The offense will play a big role in the bail amount. A minor first offense or misdemeanor will have the lowest bail amounts if any bail is set at all. Sometimes the judge will determine a bail is not needed. As the severity of the crime committed increases, as does the bail amount, and the risk that the defendant may not be eligible for release on bail at all. Some bail fees can be set as high as $250,000 or more for severe crimes like homicide. The criminal history plays a role in the amount of bail as well. A repeat offender may be considered more likely to commit other crimes after their arraignment hearing, and their bail will be set higher. Finally, if the defendant is considered a flight risk, that will raise the amount of the bail as well. Obviously, a previous missed court appearance or prior bond forfeiture will be a red flag to a judge, so they will want to make sure the financial incentive is high enough.
A criminal defense attorney in the state of California can also help navigate the criminal justice system for you, advocate for your speedy release, and help with posting bail if needed. If you can contact an attorney at the time of your arrest, they can help make the process much easier on you and your loved ones.
Remember that the 8th amendment states Americans are entitled to fair bail and a speedy trial, so if you feel that the bail amount is disproportionate to the crime, seek legal counsel.