If you are sitting in jail for an alleged crime, it is the last place you want to be, and the first thought that will come to your mind is securing release. Your release from jail can occur after issuance of a citation through own recognizance or bail bond. A bail release can be frightening and confusing, which is why you need to work closely with a bail bonds company. At Cali Bail Bonds, we offer bail services to Claremont residents who want to go back to their regular life while awaiting a fair trial.
What is Bail?
Bail is defined as the money or funds you deposit as a defendant or for a defendant meant to ensure the accused will show up in court at a future date after a release. The deposit can be in cash or bond, which a bail bond company often secures.
Not all the accused end up posting bail to secure release pending trial. The characteristics and severity of the case play a significant role in whether bail will be imposed or not. Also, the judge has the discretion to reduce or increase the bail based on the nature of the case or the accused's character.
Setting Bail Money
Los Angeles County has a bail schedule for misdemeanor and felony offenses. After your arrest, the schedule is used to determine the amount you will be paying as bail. Therefore, if you have been arrested on suspicion of committing a crime, you can have your loved one check the bail schedule to establish the bail fund you should post for release. Alternatively, you could ask your Claremont bail bonds agency to review the amount on your behalf to determine what you ought to pay.
When the criminal act in question is relatively minor, like drunk driving without injuries or property damage, you will only be issued with a citation requiring you to make future court appearances without having to post bail.
However, if your offense appears in the Los Angeles County schedule, you must deposit the money indicated as bail or bond to secure freedom. Before you go for a bail hearing, the arresting police officer sets the bail in your file based on what is in the schedule. Depending on the circumstances and severity of the case, they might request the judge to increase or reduce the amount indicated in the schedule.
During the arraignment, usually your first court appearance, the judge might opt to proceed with the bail listed in the schedule or opt for modification. However, the adjustments must be consistent with the circumstances of the case; otherwise, they will be unlawful.
If you and your defense attorney are not happy with the bail fund imposed by the court, you can request a bail hearing within two days after the arraignment.
A bail hearing is a formal court proceeding, often requested by your criminal attorney, where they attempt to convince the judge to lower the bail or be released on own recognizance. With an O.R. release, instead of posting any bail money, the judge frees you without posting the bail money but with a promise to show up in court as scheduled.
Note that it’s not only your defense attorney that can request a bail hearing. If the prosecutor feels the amount set by the court is insufficient, they can ask for a hearing.
At the proceeding, the judge listens to arguments from both the prosecuting team and the defense team on the matter of bail. When deciding if they should modify your bail, the court considers:
- Your capacity to raise the money
- The extent of the alleged crime
- Your prior criminal history
- Public safety
- Chances of making court appearances after a release
- Possibility of appearing in court later
- Weapons or drugs involved in the crime
- Your employment status
- Your connection or ties with the community like property or business interests
Public safety is the primary concern for the judge when it comes to setting bail. If public safety is a concern or you are facing charges for a serious felony like rape, sexual assault, kidnapping, or homicide, the court cannot modify the bail provisions in the schedule unless you prove unusual circumstances to diverge from what is provided by the law. The unique or unusual case’s facts include:
- A change in the case’s circumstances
- The unearthing of new facts that are implicating or exculpatory
- The prosecutor’s witnesses have disappeared or failed to testify
- You have fallen ill
- You are found in possession of colossal amounts of cash or a one-way ticket out of California
Keep in mind that even after you have posted the bail funds, the judge has the discretion to order further detention awaiting trial. If you are yet to post bail money, you will remain in custody, but you still have the right to petition for a bail review five days once the initial bail was set. Besides, if you want to appeal a reduction in the bail money, you must notify the prosecuting team within 48 hours before hearing of your intent. Doing so provides them with the opportunity to challenge your appeal.
It’s worth noting that while the judge has the discretion to reduce your bail amount, they can also raise it at the hearing. Here, the prosecutor presents new facts regarding you, the accused, or the charges that the judge was previously unaware of, like probation violation.
If you are on parole, ensure you post bail as soon as possible without initiating a bail hearing because if the judge learns about it, they will put a hold on your release, meaning more time behind bars. However, if you post bail before the judge knows of your probation, you will be allowed to remain out of custody until the bail hearing is concluded.
Unless there is a clear abuse of discretion, the judge can raise the bail money if the prosecutor provides enough evidence to justify an increment. However, being unable to raise the bail money doesn’t mean it's high, so you will remain behind bars or reach out to your Claremont bail bonds to help pay bail.
Bail Requirements or Conditions
If the court grants bail or you are released on O.R., there are conditions you must fulfill. Besides, your attorney can set these bail conditions to convince the court to set bail or lower the bail. These conditions include:
- Putting you under house arrest with an electronic monitoring device
- A restraining order prohibiting any contact with the victim
- Surrendering your passport and driver’s license
- A requirement to wear SCRAM
- Avoiding drunk driving with any BAC level
- A need to check in with the inpatient treatment facility
These requirements are limitless, but the judge must ensure that they do not violate your rights to Constitutional Due Process. Further, the conditions must be ones that you can satisfy because it is constitutionally prejudicial to set a drug treatment program as a condition for a release and, at the same time, set a bail amount that you cannot afford.
California has essentially three ways of posting bail. These are:
Through Cash Bail
The easiest way of securing a release after the count grants or imposes bail is by paying the entire fund. To secure release through cash bail, you must deposit the sum of money with the clerk in court or arresting agencies. You may deposit the money through money order, traveler’s check, certified check, cashier’s check, and personal check based on the policy of the apprehending agency or court.
If you make court appearances as required and the claim is resolved, you will obtain your money back within at most three months. However, you will lose the money when you fail to show up or violate the conditions mentioned above of your pretrial release.
Note that if the origin of your funds is suspect, the court might refuse the cash bail. These instances happen when the court, prosecuting team, or police believe that the large amounts deposited as bail were feloniously obtained through crime. Felonious, in this case, refers to illegal transactions, means, or occurrences that institute a felony.
For instance, if you have been arrested for embezzlement, then a family member posts a cash bail of three hundred thousand dollars, law enforcement agencies will be suspicious of the origin of the money. They may put on hold your release pending a hearing to settle the issue.
You will assume the burden of proving the money is legitimate, and if you do, the court will accept the cash bail. However, if they are not convinced the money is from a legitimate source, they may be forced to turn down the money and raise the bail.
The court wants you to prove the source of your money before accepting it as bail because they believe if you post bail using ill-gotten money, there will be little or no motivation for you to show up in court. So, even when there is money to pay cash bail, you are encouraged to go through a certified Claremont bail company to keep a low depiction. However, this is for individuals charged with crimes like trafficking, embezzlement, or a sizable narcotic enterprise.
Through Bail Bond
The most common manner of bailout today is through a license and certified bail bondsman. The reason being, many Californians don’t have money sitting idle somewhere waiting for them to be arrested. Arrests come unexpectedly, and raising the bail can be challenging, which is why you need help paying the money. If you cannot raise the finances to pay for your bail, you can turn to your Claremont bail bonds company to help you pay the money.
These bondsmen act as lenders, and you can secure a bail bond with them where they agree to post the bail. In exchange, you pay a non-refundable premium fee of 10% of the total bail money for assuming the risk of you skipping court appearances.
For example, if the court sets your bail money at $70,000, your Claremont bail bondsman will charge you a $7,000 non-refundable fee to post the bail.
Because of the enormous risk of the matter, the bail agent will require a cosigner, usually a friend, family member, or other people with good credit, to cosign the bond. Also, the cosigner could put up their real property as collateral if the amount of bail is substantial. Should you skip court, the bondsman will pay the bond in full to the court and turn to the cosigner for repayment. If the cosigner can’t raise the amount, their real property used as collateral will be seized and auctioned to repay the amount the bail company has forfeited.
Note that if you are securing a bond for another party, you become the cosigner. Your responsibility is to ensure the defendant appears in could as agreed whether or not you paid the premium or had help from others raising the fee.
If the defendant skips court, the bondsmen will track them down first and collect their money. However, if the bounty hunter cannot find the accused, the bail agent will turn to you for repayment.
Through Property Bond
In some cases, you might lack money to post the bail in cash or beneficial to post a property bond. The court will allow you to post any real property like real estate as bail in these cases. After doing this, you pledge the property’s value to the judge as an assurance or guarantee you won’t skip bail. However, not all real property is accepted as a bond. For the property to be acceptable, it must be 150% of the total bail money imposed by the court.
Before they accept the property as a bond, they must conduct a hearing to establish if you are the legitimate owner of the property in question. The court will require you to submit particular documents before scheduling a hearing. These documents include:
- An original deed or certified copy of the deed of the property
- All the persons whose names appear on the deed and a copy of the Trust contract if the property is held in a Trust.
- A current lot book guarantee
- History of the property lien
- The current market worth of the real property
- Balance of all loans if the property presented as a bond is under a mortgage
- An affidavit for justification of bail
Unlike bail bonds which take around twenty to thirty minutes to process, property bonds take up to weeks, meaning you might be forced to stay in jail longer. The extended stay is because the judge might request additional documents that are not readily available and may take time to acquire.
Failure to Show Up after Bailing Out
Skipping bail is a serious offense that attracts harsh consequences. First, the judge will forfeit your bail then issue a bench warrant. If you had posted bail in cash, the amount is forfeited. However, if you secure a bail bond from your Claremont bail agent, the bond goes into judgment, and the bondsman becomes liable for the entire bail money. The company becomes fully entitled to claim reimbursement from you, but if they cannot track you down, they turn to the cosigner, where they seize the collateral and force the sale of the real property to recover their money.
Bounty hunters are paid a percentage of the bail amount if they track you down and make an arrest, but they don’t receive any payment if they cannot apprehend you. After an arrest, they will return you to your jurisdiction where you had fled to face the law. However, these bounty hunters work on a timeline, and if it is not met, the bail bondsman must pay the full amount secured as a bond.
You should understand there are several reasons for skipping bail. You may have fallen ill gravely, resulting in a hospital. Further, the court might excuse you for skipping bail if you have a mental condition that prevents you from understanding the seriousness of the charges you face, primarily if you were in a psych ward at the time you were meant to appear in court. Also, you will be excused if you are in the custody of law enforcers from another jurisdiction.
What Happens to Bail after the Case is Resolved?
After you comply with all court requirements during your release, the court will exonerate your bail. However, for exoneration to happen, the following must be true:
- The case is resolved
- The court rules you as unsuitable to stand trial
- The court imposes a drug diversion program
- You are committed into custody after an unfavorable verdict
If you had paid cash bail and were convicted, part of the penalties for a conviction includes paying court fines and victim restitution; the bail money will be used to cover these penalties.
Claremont Jail and Courthouse Information
570 West Bonita Avenue,
Claremont, CA, 91711
Superior Court of California
8950 Clairemont Mesa Blvd,
San Diego, CA 92123,
Phone: +1 858-634-1800
Find a Bail Bondsman Near Me
It is frightening to find yourself in jail needing the services of a bail bondsman. The process of posting bail can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time, which is why you need a criminal defense attorney in Claremont for your unique needs. Call Cali Bail Bonds today at 877-373-3631 for more questions on bail bonds.