Booking Then Bail
After you are booked into jail, you may be able to be released from custody on the condition that you return on your court date. Posting bail is one of the ways you can be released before your court date. Bail is money you give to the court to be released. The bail works as a security deposit. By posting bail, you promise to return to court at the agreed upon date for your hearing. Bail isn't a fine or a fee, and the court must return it to you if you fulfill your promise. If you do not return to court for your hearing, however, you forfeit any bail you posted.
The judge will decide on an amount for bail after considering many factors, such as the crime you committed, the risk you will flee, and the threat you pose to the community if you are released. California county courts maintain bail schedules that provide the guidelines with which bail must be set. The bail amount must be reasonable, but many defendants cannot post the entire amount. If you are able, you can post the entire bail in cash. If you cannot afford this, you can work with a bail bondsman.
Typically, bail bonds require the defendant give a sum equal to 10% of the bail amount. Certain people may get a lower bail rate if they qualify for certain discounts. The entire amount given to the bail bondsman is non-refundable. If the defendant fails to appear in court, the bail bondsman will provide the remaining amount to the court and seek reimbursement from the defendant or the co-signer on the bond. If you do show up for your court dates, the court will release your bail once your case is resolved. You will receive a refund if you posted cash bail with the court but won't receive a refund from a bail bondsman.
When released on bail, you may be subject to certain conditions or restrictions. For example, you may be ordered to stay away from the alleged victim. If you violate these conditions or fail to appear in court, a warrant will be issued for your arrest. If arrested, you may not have the chance to post bail again and could remain in custody until your case resolves.
Posting bail is not the only way you can be released from custody before your court date. You can also be released on your own recognizance. This does not involve a payment. Rather, the judge will release you if he or she trusts you will return to court and you promise to do so. The judge is more likely to release you on your own recognizance if you have a steady job, a family to take care of, or other indicators that you are unlikely to flee from the law.
Not every defendant is eligible for release before appearing in court. In some cases, the defendant will have to appear in court first before having bail set or may not have the right to bail at all.
If you have been arrested and have questions about bail, contact an experienced California criminal defense attorney right away. An attorney can explain how bail works in the county you are in, and help you make arrangements to post bail if you choose to do so. An attorney may also be able to get your bail lowered or get you a discount with a bail bondsman if you choose to hire him or her. Being released from custody can allow you to return to your life, take care of responsibilities, and better plan to fight your charges.
It is very important to understand how bail works because the stakes are very high. If you do not adhere to the conditions of your bail and fulfill your promise to return to court, you could end up owing a bail bondsman a large sum of money or forfeiting your cash bail to the court. Not understanding the terms and conditions of bail is not an excuse. If you are posting bail, you should speak with an attorney about your obligations.
Have you recently been arrested? Contact attorney Christopher Martens and his team for legal help in Tulare, Fresno or Kings County. Specializing in criminal defense, Mr. Martens can take immediate action in your case to defend your rights and your freedom. With over ten years experience in criminal defense, Attorney Martens has taken over 50 cases to trial and will not be afraid to do the same for you. Call our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.