Many arrests occur each day in California. Finding yourself or your loved one under arrest is a terrifying experience. After the arrest and booking, you will be detained in a jail cell until your hearing date. Sitting behind bars removes the time you need to spend with your family and could cause you to lose your job. While California law allows defendants to secure a release from jail with a pending trial, the path to freedom is challenging.
Bail is an amount of money the judge sets for a defendant to pay in exchange for a release before their trial. The bail money assures the court that you will return for your court proceedings on the specified date. Unfortunately, bail amounts are often very high, and affording the payment becomes tough for most defendants and their families. If your loved one is stuck in jail for lack of bail money, you could benefit from posting a bail bond.
At Alomar Bail Bonds, we will provide you with the total amount you need to secure a release and guide your loved one through the challenging bail process. We serve clients seeking a bail bond in San Dimas, CA.
Bail Bonds in California
Bail is an amount of money that a defendant must pay to stay out of jail with a pending criminal trial. Some defendants are fortunate to secure a release on recognizance. You will not need a monetary commitment to secure a release. Unfortunately, an OR release is only reserved for first-time offenders and defendants without a substantial criminal history. If the court does not offer you an OR release, you must pay the amount specified by the judge.
Failure to post bail means that you choose to remain behind bars awaiting your hearing. California courts use bail to ensure that you appear as scheduled. Skipping bail results in forfeiture and loss of the amount you put up as bail. You can post bail in cash, use of property, or a bail bond.
A bail bond is the most common form of bail used in California. Many people find paying a cash bail on such short notice challenging. When you seek the services of a bail bond company, a San Dimas bail bond agent will assess your case and decide whether you are responsible enough to receive the bond. If you seek a bail bond for a loved one, the agency will check your ability to pay the premiums and the defendant’s flight risk.
The bail bondsman will go to court and post the bail amount for individuals who qualify for a bail bond. The main advantage of using a bail bond is that it is affordable. Unlike a cash bail, where the total bail amount is required before a release, you are only responsible for 10% of the bail when using a bail bond. In addition to the low cost, bail bond agents know the system and will guide your loved one until their case ends and bail is exonerated.
Co-signing a Bail Bond in California
No one wants to see their loved one or close friend in jail. By acting as a co-signer, you can help a defendant secure a release as soon as possible. A co-signer to a bail bond guarantees that the defendant will appear for the trial and other proceedings. Additionally, the co-signer is responsible for paying the bail bond premium and additional fines.
A bail bond co-signer can be anyone who knows the defendant. However, it is essential to understand that individuals with a stronger relationship are preferred. Before you become a co-signer for your loved one’s bail bond, the bail company will assess the following qualities:
- Credit score. A good credit score indicates that you can make regular payments for the bail bond. Also, it would be best if you had enough assets or property that could act as collateral for the bail bond.
- Job history. If you have held the same job position for several years, a San Dimas bail bondsman is confident that you can pay the total bail amount in case of forfeiture.
- Responsible. Co-signing a bail bond does not end when you secure a defendant’s release from jail. You must ensure that the defendant meets all the bail conditions spelled out by the court during the release. If a defendant skips bail or violates one of the conditions, you must pay for the loss incurred by the bail bond agency through a forfeiture. Therefore, the bail bondsman will investigate if you are a responsible person before allowing you to co-sign the bail bond.
Responsibilities of a Co-signer
Helping a defendant to post bail does not come without responsibility. When you co-sign a bail bond, you must sign a contract agreeing to perform the following duties:
- Pay the premium. A bail bond is not free. You must pay a premium as a service fee for the bail bond agent. The standard premium for a bail bond in California is 10%. You are responsible for paying this premium when you agree to become a co-signer. If you cannot pay the total amount at once, you can request to make a bail bond repayment plan.
- Pay additional costs. You may need to make extra payments depending on the defendant’s conduct. Actions like skipping bail or failing to appear in court for trial will subject a defendant to additional costs. Since the bail bond company takes responsibility for a defendant, they will pass the additional costs to the co-signer. For example, when a defendant skips bail, the bail bond agent must employ the services of a bounty hunter to find them. This will result in a recovery feed you must pay as the co-signer.
- Ensure a defendant appears for court proceedings. One of the essential roles of a bail bond co-signer is to make sure that the defendant appears in court and follows all the bail conditions. You must pay for the loss if the defendant violates their bail and the court forfeits the bail amount.
Even with the above responsibilities, it is vital to understand that you have rights. If it does suit your interests, you have a right to decline the co-signer responsibility. You must read through any agreement and understand it before committing yourself. Another right you have as a co-signer is to withdraw or revoke a bail bond. If you co-sign a bail bond and at one point you feel that the defendant will not appear in court for trial, you can go to the bail bond agent and revoke the bond. If you do this, the defendant must return to jail and wait for trial.
Factors to Consider Before Co-signing a Bail Bond in California
Being a co-signer carries a significant responsibility for the defendant and the process. Before you consider signing the bail bond agreement for a loved one or friend, you must look into these factors:
- The defendant for whom you are co-signing the bail bond. Everyone makes mistakes at one point in their lives. Sometimes, a loved one may be a victim of false accusations or entrapment. Before agreeing to become a co-signer, you should consider how well you know the defendant and how responsible they are. If you feel someone is untrustworthy, you should rethink your decision to co-sign their bail bond.
- Documentation. Always read through any documentation or contract before signing it. If you have questions regarding your responsibilities and rights as a co-signer, ensure that you seek clarification from your San Dimas bail bond agent.
- Financial liability. When a defendant skips bail or violates other conditions, you will shoulder the responsibility for the bail bond and probably lose the item you placed as collateral. Before co-signing the bail bond, you need to consider whether you have enough assets and whether you can meet the financial requirements associated with the bail bond.
- Personal responsibility. If you co-sign a bail bond for a loved one or friend, the court expects you to monitor the defendant even after release. You must ensure they show up every time the court schedules a proceeding for their case. Keeping a person in line as required by the court is a huge responsibility. Failure to perfume these duties will cause you a substantial loss. Therefore, you must consider this personal responsibility before acting as a co-signer.
Bail Bond Repayment Plan
Although a bail bond premium is a small percentage of the total bail amount, it can be difficult for some people to pay at once. In California, bail amounts are very high, especially for serious crimes. However, it would be best if you did not let the lack of money prevent you from seeking a bail bond in San Dimas.
Bail bond companies offer repayment plans which allow you to secure a loved one’s release with a deposit and sign an agreement to pay the rest in monthly installments. The amount a bail bond company will require as a deposit for the bail bond premium varies depending on the following factors:
- Total bail amount. The higher the bail, the more you will need to put up a down payment for the premium.
- Proof of your ability to pay. With a stable job and assets, the bail bond agency will have confidence in your ability to push through with the repayment plan.
- Credit score. The higher your credit score, the better your chances of a repayment plan with a reasonable down payment.
Since each company is different, you should always consult with your bail bondsman on issues regarding a repayment plan and the amounts they accept as a downpayment. The credit score is a significant factor when acquiring a repayment plan.
Therefore, if you are behind bars, you must ensure that the person you ask to co-sign your bail bond and repayment plan has good credit. Additionally, the more you are willing to put up as a down payment, the higher your chances of securing the repayment plan.
Bail Exoneration and Forfeiture
In California, bail is not part of the penalties for your offense. Therefore, the fate of your bail money is not affected by the outcome of your criminal case. The main factor determining whether you will receive back your money is your conduct while out on bail. Several conditions are established when the court sets you free on bail. One of the bail conditions is to appear for trial and other court proceedings. Other bail conditions vary depending on the nature of your crime. The two outcomes of bail include:
Bail forfeiture occurs when the court seizes the amount you paid, and you cannot claim the money. A bail forfeiture occurs when you fail to appear for your trial or violate other bail conditions. The courts understand that mistakes happen, and you could forget to show up for trial. Therefore, they allow you to explain why your failure appears.
If you secured a release on cash bail, a forfeiture means you will not recover the amount you posted with the court. Additionally, failing to appear in court is a serious offense that could attract severe legal penalties. For defendants who post a bail bond, the consequences of bail forfeiture affect the defendant, the co-signer, and the bail bond company.
Before the court forfeits your bail bond, the judge allows the bail bond agent some time to find you and return you to court. At this stage, the bail bondsman could employ the services of bounty hunters. The primary role of a bounty hunter is to find defendants who skip bail and take them back to jail.
However, if a defendant is not found, the court will ask the bail bond agent to present the full bail amount to the court. Bail bond companies do not accept losing their money through bail forfeiture. Therefore, they will turn to you for compensation for their losses. If you provided collateral for the bail bond, the company would sell that collateral to recover their money. Even when you are taken back to jail after a bail forfeiture, it is vital to understand that a bail bond premium is not refundable.
A bail exoneration means the court returns the bail money to the payer. Whether or not you are found guilty of your crimes will not affect a bail exoneration. If you appeared for all your court proceedings and complied with other requirements, the bail bond company will receive the total amount they posted with the court. If you secured a bail bond with collateral, the bond company would release the property back to you. Additionally, the responsibility of the bail bondsman to the defendant ends.
Benefits of Working With a Professional San Dimas Bail Bond Company
There are several ways through which you can pay your bail. However, using a bail bond is less stressful and beneficial in the following ways:
- Less family disruption. Any court proceeding will cause tension for the defendant and their family. Spending time in jail will result in emotional trauma from being away from your family. Working with a professional bail bond agent ensures a quick release and fewer family issues.
- Saves money. Facing arrest and criminal charges can take a toll on your financial life. Spending all the money on bail will take away from the finances you need to seek legal guidance. Posting a bail bond ensures that you are only responsible for 10% of the total bail. After the release, you can use the rest of the money to hire a criminal defense attorney.
- Professional guidance. When you post a cash or property bond, you must make several trips to the court to clarify the questions and issues you have about your bail. Bail bond agents are conversant with the bail process and will guide you through the process.
An arrest in San Dimas, CA, will result in detention in any of these jails:
San Dimas Sheriff’s Department
The following are courts serving San Dimas, CA:
Orange County Superior Court-Fullerton Courthouse
San Gabriel Valley Trust and Probate Center
Find a Competent Bail Bond Agent Near Me
Most defendants detained in California jails while awaiting trial can secure a temporary release by posting bail. If your offense is bondable, the judge will decide on the specific amount you must pay depending on the circumstances of your case. Posting bail in cash is the easiest and fastest way to secure the release. However, with the high bail amounts in California and the urgency to have your loved one out of jail, posting cash bail is not always possible.
Fortunately, you can explore other payment options like using a bail bond. Bail bond companies provide the amount needed for bail, and you will only be responsible for up to 10% of the bail money, which acts as a service fee for the bail bond agent. At Alomar bail bonds, agents are available anytime you need our services. If your loved one is stuck in a jail cell in San Dimas, CA, you will need one of your bail bond agents by your side. Call us today at 626-449-4118.