When a person is arrested in the state of California, they may be eligible for release from jail on bail. Bail is a monetary amount that must be paid to the court in exchange for the temporary release of the defendant from custody while they await trial. Bail can be a complex and confusing process, and it’s important to understand how it works in the state of California. In this article, we will provide an overview of how bail works in California, including the types of bail, the factors that influence bail amounts, and the procedures for paying and recovering bail.
What is Bail?
Bail is an agreement between you and the court. As the defendant, you agree to post a certain amount of money in exchange for the assurance that you’ll return to court on your scheduled date. If you appear in court as scheduled and obey all bail conditions, you get your money back.
An example of this would be if the court set bail at $15,000. This means that you could pay $15,000 to the court in order to be released from jail. Once you appear in court on your specified date, you would be able to get your money back. Even if you are convicted at your trial, you will still get your money back. However, if you do not show up for any of your court dates, you will immediately forfeit your $15,000 and a warrant for your arrest will be issued. If you cannot pay the bail that the court has set, you will not be able to get released from jail and will have to remain there until the date of your trial.
If you are unable to post your bail, you may have to remain in jail for weeks or months between the time of your arrest and the beginning of your trial. That’s why posting bail usually becomes your first priority after being arrested. Therefore, this is the reason people turn to bail bonds as a means to be released from jail.
How Does Bail Work?
A judge will place a monetary value on bail. In essence, you pay a down payment to the court in that amount, to guarantee your freedom during the trial. The deposit is given back if you attend all of the scheduled appearances; once the case is finished, regardless of the outcome, bail can be returned. If you fail to show up for court, you lose your bail. If you don’t have enough money for bail, there are a couple of other options: somebody else can post bail for you in some circumstances, you can post a property bond, or work with a bail bondsman.
When you post bail using a property bond, you are essentially using some valuable property as collateral. If you fail to appear for your court date, you (or whoever posted bail for you) can lose that property. If you work with a bail bond agent, they will post bail for you in exchange for a fee. This may be the only option if the bail amount is higher than what you can afford.
When determining bail, the judge starts with a schedule that provides a general bail value depending on the crime for which you are charged. This number can be adjusted, increased, or decreased, depending on your circumstances. The amount may be reduced if you have no criminal history if you have a history of appearing for court, if the state appears to have a weak case against you, or if your finances indicate that you cannot post the given amount, among other reasons.
In contrast, the amount of bail may be increased if you have a history of failing to appear in court or if the state has extensive evidence against you. The best chance of getting your bail set at an amount that you can afford is to hire a criminal defense lawyer.
How Do I Pay For Bail?
The amount of bail depends on the crime charged against the defendant and its seriousness. Bondsmen and attorneys are able to provide you with a countywide schedule of bail. Three options are available for posting bail for a defendant’s release:
- Cash Bail: The full amount of bail must be deposited in cash, a check, a traveler’s check, or a money order to the holding agency. Upon completion of this process, the defendant will be released from jail and given a court date.
- Real Property: For bail, the defendant or his family may offer equity in real estate. For a defendant to be released from jail, the equity must be at least twice the bail amount. If a defendant fails to appear in court as required, the equity of the property can be forfeited.
- Bail Bond: Los Angeles County uses this method most often to bail someone out of jail. Tabibnia Law accepts all types of credit cards, cash, personal checks, bitcoin, and financing. We also accept monthly payments or collateral such as real estate holdings, monthly payments from employers, jewelry, and cars.
How Do I Bail Another Person Out?
Some basic steps for how to bail someone out of jail are:
- Determine whether he or she is allowed bail. And if yes, Figure out the bail amount.
- Call a bail bondsman and provide him with all the necessary information. The bail bondsman will inform you of your payment options and the amount of your payment. Some paperwork will need to be filled out.
- Choose the type of bail or bond you are going to use (cash, property, or professional bonding company).
- Post the bond with the jail to have the person released from jail.
What Should I Look For When Choosing a Good Bail Company?
When you make your decision about whether to bail someone out of jail, keep these seven factors in mind. This choice will affect your future. Let’s find out how to choose a bail company that’s right for you.
- Be sure that the bail bonds company and its employees are fully licensed by the state.
- Make sure that the company you choose has a good understanding of the bail bond process and is familiar with the court system in your area.
- Check a bond company’s accessibility.
- Determine bail amount
- Ask about payment options
Can I Get My Bail Reduced?
When the amount of bail is too high, a criminal defense lawyer can petition the court to reduce it. The judge considers the following factors in setting bail:
- Public safety.
- The seriousness of the criminal offense.
- The prior criminal record of the defendant.
- The likelihood of the defendant making all the required court appearances.
We will consider those same factors when deciding whether or not to grant bail: the defendant has no prior failures to appear in court (FTA), and the defendant lives in the community with his or her family and owns their home and is therefore not likely to be a flight risk.
What Happens To Me If I Don’t Post Bail?
Skipping to post bail can have serious consequences. If someone doesn’t pay their bail, they can be held in jail during the course of criminal proceedings. Not paying bail means that a person cannot get out of jail until they show up in court, which can result in missing work or other important obligations.
If you get charged with skipping bail, it is a very serious offense. If you miss a court date and are already facing this charge, here are some of the major consequences you may face.
- You lose your bail money
- You will owe your bail bondsman the money paid for your bail
- The court will issue a warrant
- You will end up back in jail will no bail option
- You will face new charges and your existing charges
If you don’t skip bail and if you attend all hearings and complete all other requirements, the court will refund your bail payment.
Once I Post Bail, How Long Before I’m Released?
A defendant being held in a Los Angeles County jail can expect to be released from custody at any time between 6 and 24 hours. The release times for a city jail tend to be much faster; if you are in an Orange County jail, you should expect to be released between 3 and 7 hours after arrest. Los Angeles and Orange County jails have different release times because the two jails have different sizes and staffs.
Does The Bail Bond Expire?
The bail bonds do not expire. You can use them for the duration of the case, even if it continues for more than a year. There is never an annual renewal fee.
Can I Travel While I’m Out On Bail?
When a defendant is out on bail with Tabibnia Law, he or she may travel unless there are restrictions placed on his or her travel by the court. The only exception is if the Indemnitor (co-signer) of the bond has certain restrictions regarding the defendant’s travel, in which case the defendant must follow those restrictions.
What Happens To My Bail When The Case Ends?
When your case is over and all conditions set by the court have been met, your bail money will be returned to you. If you fail to appear in court after you’ve been given a date for your hearing, you will lose the money.
If I Bail Out A Friend Or Loved One, How Can I Protect Myself In Case He or She Doesn’t Show Up to Court?
If you are a co-signer for California bail bonds, and you see that the defendant will not show up in court as scheduled, you have the legal right to notify the bail bondsman at any time. Bail bondsmen are responsible for apprehending defendants and returning them to the courts nearest to where they were arrested. The bail bondsman charges a small fee for taking this action. However, it beats having to pay the full amount of bail if the bond is forfeited in court.
Can I Get My Bail Bond Money Back?
The specific answer depends on whether or not you posted bail, and whether or not you have attended all of your court appearances. So, Yes, if you post bail and make all your court appearances, you will get your money back.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges in Los Angeles, Van Nuys, Beverly Hills, Ventura County, Riverside, San Fernando, Burbank, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, Manhattan Beach, San Fernando Valley, or Orange County, our criminal defense lawyers are available to assist you. With our top-rated legal expertise, we will evaluate your case and devise the most effective strategy for achieving the best possible outcome.
Time is of the essence, so we recommend contacting you as soon as possible. We may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce or dismiss your charges before the court date. Additionally, you may be eligible for a diversion program that can help you avoid a criminal conviction and maintain a clean record.
If you need a reliable criminal defense team in Southern California, contact Tabibnia Law Firm. We offer a free immediate response when you call us at 866-713-2159, or you can reach us online. Let us examine your case and provide the skilled legal representation you deserve.