What options do I have?
When an individual is arrested and booked for a crime, they have several options for release pending the conclusion of their case.
Bail Bonds Information and Release Options
|Surety Bond: This involves contacting a bail agent to arrange for a bail bond to be posted in the amount of bail. A contractual agreement and collateral in most cases are necessary to secure the bail bond.|
|Cash Bail: Cash for the total amount of bail must be in the form of a cash, cashier’s check, personal check or money order and delivered to the jail facility where the defendant is being detained.|
|Property Bond: Real property is placed with the court as security for the defendant‘s release from custody. This release option usually requires prior approval by the magistrate and a full property profile disclosure including but not limited to an appraisal. Often, the equity of the property must be twice the amount of the bail set. This is very time consuming and not offered through most states.|
|Own Recognizance: Usually court administrators or judges interview individuals in custody and make recommendations to the court regarding release on OR (i.e. without any financial security to insure the appearance). OR release program is offered usually to individuals with no past criminal record or non-violent offenses.|
USING A BAIL BONDSMAN
This process involves a contractual undertaking guaranteed by a Licensed, Bonded and Insured bail agent and the individual posting bail. The bail agent guarantees to the court that the defendant will appear in court each and every time the judge requires them to.
For this service, the defendant or co-signer is charged a percentage of the bail amount. In some instances collateral will be required. In most states, including California, the cost of a bail bond is set by law and rates are not negotiable. The California bail bond premium is either 8% or 10% depending on the amount of the bail. For example, if the bail is set at $5,000, then the premium charged is $500.
Before being released the defendant or a co-signer of the defendant, contacts a bail agent to make an arrangement for the posting of bail. After the paperwork is finalized, a licensed agent will file, or “post”, the bond with the jail which will result in the release of the defendant. Jail facilities vary in the amount of time to process the bond and release the defendant.
If a forfeiture is issued (defendant fails to appear), the defendant and the co-signer are individually responsible for the full amount of the bail. If the defendant is located within a certain amount of time and arrested by the bail enforcement agent the co-signer is then only responsible for all expenses the bail agent incurs while looking for the defendant
BAIL BOND RELATED DEFINITIONS
Liability – Responsibility for any financial loss incurred in connection with the bail bond posted.
Premium – The bail bond fee as regulated by the Department of Insurance typically ten percent of the bail amount.