No one plans to end up in jail. However, a seemingly good day could end in devastation when you face an arrest and criminal charges in California. If you are not fortunate enough to secure a release on recognizance, you must pay a certain amount of money to the court in exchange for a release before trial. Bail is an assurance that a defendant will return to court for trial.
Bail amounts are very high, and raising the amount is challenging. Fortunately, there are other options you can explore when you seek to post bail for a loved one. Many people in California are familiar with bail bonds. Bail bond companies post bail for a defendant, and you will only be responsible for up to 10% of your loved one’s bail. The use of bail bonds helps ensure that all defendants have an equal chance of staying out of jail with a pending case.
At Alomar Bail Bonds, we will provide you with the financial assistance you need to secure a loved one’s release. Working with our Altadena bail bond agents will give you and your family the peace of mind you need during this difficult time.
What is bail?
Bail is the money you must pay to the court to secure a release with a pending criminal case. After an arrest, you can post bail and go home or stay in jail, awaiting the outcome of your criminal case. While remaining in jail may seem like a way of saving money, it takes so much from your life. The conditions in the jail cells are often not favorable, and you may experience severe trauma from the situation.
Additionally, being in jail prevents you from spending time with family during this challenging period of your life. When you secure a release on bail, you can return to work and earn money for criminal defense. You can also meet with your attorney to discuss more details of your defense.
If the court releases you on bail, you must comply with the following conditions:
- A promise that you must come back for your trial and other court proceedings
- Travel restrictions. While out on bail, the court does not allow you to leave the jurisdiction, and they enforce this condition by asking that you surrender your travel documents.
- Stay-away orders. If you face charges for domestic violence or other violent crimes, the court will order that you avoid contact with the alleged victims of your offense.
- Order to surrender firearms. If you are a firearm holder, you must surrender it during a probation release.
- Home detention. Sometimes, the court may release you to go home but order you to wear an electronic ankle bracelet to monitor your movements.
- Substance abuse programs. The judge can issue an order for substance abuse treatment or counseling for defendants facing charges such as drunk driving and other drug-related crimes.
Common Types of Bail in California
Every criminal case presents a different set of circumstances. If you or your loved one is in jail, you can explore various bail options, depending on your financial capabilities. Nature of your charges and citizenship. Essential types of bail you need to know about include:
A release on recognizance means you do not need to post bail for a release before your trial. Unfortunately, an OR release is not available for all defendants. You can qualify for a release without bail in California under the following circumstances:
- You are a first-time offender
- You face charges for a less severe offense
- You do not have a history of skipping court dates and violating court orders
- You are a non-violent offender
Paying your bail in cash is the easiest and fastest way to secure a release from jail. When you choose to pay a cash bail, you must present the total bail amount in court before your loved one is processed out of jail. The main advantage of using cash bail is that you can recover your money when the case ends without a bail violation.
However, many people find it challenging to raise bail money to meet the urgency of a release from jail. Additionally, posting a high amount in cash bail creates room for suspicion and prompts the court to investigate the source of your funds. A financial investigation after posting bail invades your financial privacy and could delay the bail process.
If your loved one is stuck in jail and you do not have the money for cash bail, you can present property in exchange for the release. The court sets forth the property value they can accept a bond. When you use the property for a bond, the court holds a hearing to determine the ownership and value of the property.
If you use a real estate property for a bond, all individuals whose names are listed on the property deed must appear for the property bond hearing. Additionally, all details on property appraisals and exchange of ownership must be presented at this hearing. If the defendants fail to appear in court after posting a property bond, the court will sell the property to cover the bail amount.
You post a bail bond with financial assistance from a bail bond agency. A bail bond agreement between a defendant, the court, and a bail bond company. When you contact a bail bond, they will pay the total bail amount for your loved one. By doing this, the Altadena bail bond agent takes up all the responsibility of ensuring that a defendant does not skip bail.
In exchange for the bail bond services, you will be responsible for 10% of the bail. It is essential to understand that the premium is not refundable. In addition to the 10% premium, the bail bond company may require you to provide collateral for the bail bonds. You will not recover the collateral if a defendant violates the bail terms or fails to appear for court proceedings.
If you face charges for s federal crime, you will need a federal bond. Unlike the bail for other cases, the federal bond assures the court of your return as scheduled. However, there are no bail schedules in federal court. A federal judge has the discretion to set your bail based on the specific circumstances of your case.
Bail for federal criminal cases is high. Therefore, paying in cash will cause more financial scrutiny. Consequently, it would be best to source your money from a bail bond company. Often the premium for federal bonds is higher than that of a bail bond in state courts. In addition to posting a federal bond, you must provide collateral before a release with a pending federal criminal case.
When posting a federal bail bond, you must seek the services of a bail bondsman with extensive knowledge and familiarity with federal court bail requirements.
In California, you will need an immigration bond if held by the Department of Homeland Security. This boom is often reserved for undocumented residents and green card holders. There are two main types of immigration bonds:
- Delivery Bond. If the ICE detains you, you can request to post a delivery bond. The court considers the severity of your crime when setting the delivery bond. Once you have posted this bond, you can be free while you wait for the outcome of your immigration case. After your release, you must hire an immigration attorney to sort out the legal issues. While in detention, you cannot freely speak with your attorney. Therefore, it is vital to bond and plan your defense freely.
- Voluntary departure bond. An individual in ICE detention can voluntarily decide to leave the United States within a specific time. A voluntary departure bond renders void the need to remove you from the United States forcefully. If you leave within the stipulated time, the amount you spend on the departure bond is refunded. However, failure to leave voluntarily will result in bail forfeiture and criminal charges.
Factors Affecting Bail Amounts
The judge sets your bail at your first appearance before the court following an arrest and booking. Bail amounts vary from one defendant to another. Although the court has discretion in how they set the bail, the following factors play a crucial role in this decision:
The bail schedule lists all crimes and the recommended bail amount for the crime. Bail schedules are organized according to the seriousness of the crime, with bail for felony offenses being higher for misdemeanors. When determining the amount of bail needed for your release, the judge uses the bail schedules as a base for setting bail. However, it is crucial to understand that you will not always pay the exact amount indicated on the schedules. The judge has a right to modify this amount depending on other factors of your case.
A flight risk is a likelihood of fleeing to skip bail after a release. This factor is often significant when the court decides to release you before your trial. The judge determines your flight risk by weighing various factors that suggest your likelihood of appearing for court proceedings as scheduled. Individuals with a high flight risk will end up paying a higher bail.
Strength of Family and Community Ties
If you have close family or dependents living in the area or are a religious organization member, the court assumes that you will not flee and leave these commitments behind. Therefore, the judge may order your release with a low bail amount. Additionally, proving that you have a stable and full-time job is sufficient to convince the court that you are not a flight risk, and they should set an affordable bail amount.
The severity of your Criminal Charges
In California, more severe crimes attract a higher bail amount. Individuals who commit serious crimes risk a lengthy prison sentence and hefty fines. Therefore, these individuals may be more motivated to flee after a release on bail to avoid the consequences of their crimes. Unfortunately, police officers arrest you for the most severe offense that their evidence can support.
Even though the prosecution will reduce the charges in the future, you must pay your bail based on your initial arrest and charges.
A defendant with a substantial criminal record may face a higher bail than a first-time offender with the same charge. Additionally, the judge checks your history of violating a court order. If you have skipped bail in the past or violated a court order, the judge will set a higher bail amount to discourage the behavior.
Threat to Self and Others
Before allowing a defendant out on bail, the court considers the defendant’s safety and the safety of other members of society. If you are likely to harm yourself or others, the court sets a high bail or denies you the bail altogether. If the court denies you bail, you must remain in jail, awaiting the outcome of your trial.
Role of an Altadena Bail Bondsman in my Case
When you contact a bail bond agency for assistance, they will send a bail bond agent to post bail for your loved one and guide them throughout the bail process. The exact roles and responsibilities of a bail bond agent include:
Assessment of your Qualifications
Once the bail bond company receives your application for bail, the agent will assess whether you qualify for the bond. Factors that help the company determine your eligibility for the bail bond include your ability to pay for the premiums and the defendant’s flight risk. The main goal of the assessment is to ensure that the company does not lose the amount they give to the court through forfeiture.
Processing Paperwork for the Bail Bond
A bail bond is an agreement between you and the surety company. Therefore, you must sign some documents promising to pay the premium. The Altadena bail bondsman is responsible for taking you through the agreement and processing these documents before posting the bail.
When the bail bond company determines that you are eligible for a bail bond and all paperwork is completed, the bail bond agent will go to court and post bail. The bail bondsman acts as the middleman between a defendant, the court, and the surety company.
Take Responsibility for the Defendant
The role of your bail bondsman does not end when they post bail for your loved one. They must continue monitoring the defendant to ensure they do not skip bail or violate one of the bail conditions. If you fail to show up for a trial, the bail bond agent will employ the services of a bounty hunter. A bounty hunter is a type of investigator who locates individuals who skip bail and take them back to court.
What Happens to my Bail Money when my case ends?
As stated earlier, bail is not a penalty for your crimes. Therefore, the outcome of your criminal case will not affect your ability to recover the bail money back. When you secure a release through cash bail, you will recover the total amount you posted with the court. If you posted a property bond, the court releases the lien they have on your property. A refund of a federal bond is not automatic. You must file a petition seeking a release of the bond money.
A release of bail money is based on the fact that the defendant appears in court and complies with all bail conditions. A violation of bail will result in bail forfeiture. If the bail bond company loses money in bail forfeiture, they will seize the collateral you provided to recover their finances.
Some of the jails where your loved one may be held after an arrest in Altadena, CA, include:
LA County Sheriff
Twin Towers Correctional Facility
El Monte Jail
Courts serving Altadena, CA include:
Find a Reliable Bail Bond Company Near Me
Receiving that call from your loved one to inform you that they are in jail is scary. It is more devastating when you are the person sitting behind bars waiting to go to trial and have your fate determined by the court. If you face an arrest in California, you must be released before trial. Unless you have committed a serious offense punishable by capital punishment, you can post bail and go home.
Not all individuals who face arrests are guilty of the alleged crimes. Therefore, going home allows you to go back to work, spend time with your family and avoid the trauma of spending time in jail. Unfortunately, the bail amounts in California are high, and not all defendants will afford to pay the money in cash.
A bail bond is a common option for many families who cannot afford cash bail. This involves contacting a bail bond agency to provide you with the total amount needed for bail at a fee. At Alomar Bail Bonds, we understand the devastation of seeing your loved one in jail. We provide quick and convenient bail solutions for all our clients in Altadena, CA. Contact us today at 626-449-4118.