One of the most common challenges defendants and their families face is figuring out whether and how to post bail for a release while awaiting trial. Bail is the monetary commitment defendants make to the court to guarantee their return for court proceedings until trial. The judge sets bail for a defendant after their arrest, ending the booking process. Failure to post bail means that the defendant must remain behind bars which can be a traumatizing experience.
While posting bail and securing a loved one's release from jail is your first thought after learning of the arrest, bail is unaffordable for many defendants. If you cannot afford cash bail, you may explore other options like seeking a bail bond. A bail bond company shoulders the financial liability for the bail, and in this case, you will only be responsible for 10% of the bail, which acts as a fee for their services.
At Cali Bail Bonds, we help clients post bail if they seek bail bonds for their loved ones in Huntington Beach, CA. Contact us today for guidance through the challenging bail process.
What is Bail?
Bail is the money the court requires defendants to pay for a release before the trial. In some ways, posting bail could be considered a security deposit. As long as you appear in court and follow all the conditions set at your bail hearing, you will receive your bail money once your case ends. After the bail is set, you have the choice to post bail and secure a release or remain in jail while your case continues. If you remain in jail because you cannot post bail, you are entitled to an automatic stay review of the order setting bail.
While paying cash bail is the fastest way to ensure that a defendant is released from jail, the bail money is often too high. Seeking bail bonds is one of the most common ways defendants obtain the amount required to post a bail bond. When you contact a bail bond company with the defendant's information, they will review the situation to ensure that the defendant is not a flight risk. Also, they will establish your ability to cover the bail bond fee and provide the collateral required to secure a bail bond.
When a Huntington Beach bail bonds agent agrees to take your case, they will post the bail allowing your loved one to go home. As a fee for bail bond services, the agent will charge you a 10% premium, which offsets the huge financial burden of paying the full bail.
Advantages of Hiring a Huntington Beach Bail Bonds Agent
Working with a bail bonds agent will present the following benefits for you and your loved one:
- Your affairs remain confidential. When you lack enough money to post bail for your loved one, you could be tempted to borrow some from friends or liquidate your assets. This can make the situation public, which may not work well for the defendant.
- Less financial burden. Bail in California is often very high. However, you will only be shouldering 10% of the bail when you post bail through a bail bond.
- Bail bond agents are responsible. When you cosign a bail bond for your loved one or friend, you will only get your money back if the defendant obeys the court orders. A bail bonds agent will monitor the defendant to ensure they don't skip bail.
Reducing your Bail in California
The amount of bail the judge sets at your bail hearing can distinguish between spending time in jail and being free while awaiting trial. Therefore, reducing your bail to the lowest amount possible would be in your best interests. The following are some of the ways through which you can have your bail reduced:
Bail Reduction by Attorney Application at Arraignment
The arraignment is the first appearance you make before the judge after an arrest and booking in California. At the arraignment, the prosecutor will inform you of your chances, and you have the opportunity to enter a plea. At the arraignment, your attorney can petition the court to reduce your bail or eliminate wherein you will be released on recognizance. While doing this, your attorney can argue that you have strong community ties or that releasing you will not pose a danger to others.
Filing a Bail Reduction Motion
When the judge sets a very high bail amount, your attorney can file a motion to reduce it. A bail reduction motion may be solely based on constitutional or statutory factors. Additionally, the US constitution prohibits excessive bail. When filing a bail reduction motion, you will require the guidance of a competent attorney to argue out why the bail amount set by the judge is excessive.
Bail Reduction Following Change in Circumstances
California law allows the court to reduce your bail if there are changes of circumstances in your case. One of the circumstances that could favor a reduction of your bail is discovering additional evidence on the defense side. A reduction in this does not mean that the judge disagrees with the other judge’s decision.
Rules for Eliminating Bail
Defendants in certain criminal cases will not need a monetary commitment to secure a release from jail. You will only need to promise the court that you will attend your scheduled court dates through a recognizance release. Also, you must promise to obey all reasonable bail conditions and remain in the jurisdiction until your case ends. However, it is vital to understand that OR release is not available to all defendants. You will be eligible for this type of release if:
- You are not charged with a violent or serious felony. In most cases, defendants charged with such crimes will be denied a release through bail.
- You face misdemeanor charges. If you are only charged with misdemeanors, you may be entitled to a release without bail. However, if the court finds aggravating circumstances in your charges, you will not receive the OR release.
The court will go through additional procedures for some criminal offenses before releasing you on bail. Some of the factors that could impact your eligibility for an OR release include:
- The maximum potential semitone that you could face if you are convicted for the crime
- The nature of your past crimes and court appearances
- Your ability to post bail. If you seek a recognizance release, you can convince the judge that you cannot afford the bail required.
Circumstances that Prompt a Bail Denial
When you face an arrest in California, it is vital to understand that not all defendants will be granted bail. Although bail bonds often succeed in ensuring your release from jail, there is no guarantee that the opportunity will be presented. Judges are legally allowed to deny your bail for the following reasons:
You are a Flight Risk
The concept of posting bail ensures that the defendant will appear for trial or their court dates. Flight risk is the likelihood of leaving town to avoid a criminal case. Most defendants may choose to flee and fail to attend the trial. However, some factors make some defendants a higher flight risk than others. For example, a defendant with a long-standing criminal history who faces serious criminal charges may not want to sit around and wait for the consequences of a possible conviction. If the judge feels there is a chance of you fleeing, they may decide to deny your bail. When your bail is denied, you will need to remain in jail until your case ends.
You Are Facing Charges for a Serious Crime
The seriousness of the charges you face may shape the judge's decision when determining your eligibility for bail. If you are charged with a violent felony or felony sexual assault, the court considers you a significant risk to others. Also, if you face charges that could attract capital punishment or life imprisonment, the judge could deny your bail. When dealing with serious crimes, the prosecutor's case against you must be strong.
You are a Repeat Offender
When you face criminal charges in California, your criminal history will impact not only your sentencing but also your ability to be released on bail. California law is often strict on repeat offenders, and a repeat offender is more likely to cause trouble to the community should the court approve their bail. The judge views repeat offenders as individuals about the law and are not willing to change. Therefore, you may be denied bail if you have past convictions for a similar or related offense.
You are a Threat to the Safety of Others
A release on bail ensures that you can stay out of jail while your case continues. However, the judge must consider the safety of other community members before releasing a criminal defendant. If you depict mental instability or have committed violent crimes, the court will view you as a threat to other people. Some defendants may even be considered a threat to themselves if they exhibit destructive behavior. Often the judge will serve such defendants with mental health analysis instead of releasing them to the community.
You are not a Citizen of the United States.
If the judge cannot verify that you are a citizen of the United States, you will not be granted aid. Illegal immigrants or individuals with limited immigration status may be deported for minor offenses. However, if you are an immigrant facing charges for a serious crime, you must remain in jail and face the consequences of your crimes.
You have a History of Failing to Show in Court.
If you have missed your court dates in the past, the court assumes that you are incapable of obeying the court orders. Failing to appear in court clarifies that you are not taking the matter seriously. Individuals with a history of failing to show up for scheduled court dates cannot be trusted to return after a release on bail.
You are arrested on an Extradition Warrant.
An extradition warrant is a warrant of arrest issued for a fugitive, and it surrenders them to a demanding State. Upon issuing the warrant, the demanding State obtains the authority to transfer the fugitive under its jurisdiction. An extradition warrant authorizes a law enforcement officer to arrest you at any time. After an arrest, a fugitive is presented before the judge before being handed over to the demanding State. If you face an arrest for a crime you committed in another State, you will not be eligible for bail.
Bail Forfeiture and Exoneration
Bail is not meant to punish defendants for their crimes but to assure their appearance in court for trial. Therefore, you will be entitled to recover your bail money back as soon as your case ends. However, not all individuals will receive their bail money back. You will be eligible for bail exoneration if you follow all the bail terms and appear for your trial and other court proceedings. Bail can be exonerated in the following ways:
- You are acquitted of your charges. If you go to trial and the judge finds you not guilty of the offense, or your case is dismissed, you will receive your bail money back.
- You are convicted and sent to jail. Since bail is not a punishment, the outcome of the criminal case will not affect your eligibility to receive the bail money back. Even when convicted for the crime, the bail money will be returned to the payer. However, if part of your sentence is a requirement to pay fines, part of the bail money or equity to property will be used to pay the fines.
- You are surrendered to custody for a good cause. Your bail bond agent can find you and surrender you to the court if you attempt to flee after paying a bail bond. In this case, you will remain in jail till trial, after which your bail will be exonerated.
When the case ends, no action is required. Within several weeks after the case ends, the court will refund your money through the Department of Finance. If you used bail bonds to bail your loved one out of jail, the bail refund check would be addressed to the bail bond company. If you have not received a refund within eight weeks, you can contact the finance department with the following information:
- The indictment number noted on the cash bail receipt
- The defendant's name
- The date when the bail was posted
- The amount you posted in cash bail
If you fail to follow through with the trial or violate bail conditions, the court will forfeit your bail. A bail forfeiture means that the court will not refund the bail money even after your case ends. If you used a property bond to secure a defendant's release, the court might sell your equity to the property to recover the bail money.
Bail bond companies do not take bail forfeiture lightly. Therefore, a Huntington Beach Bail Bond agent will do their best to ensure that a defendant shows you in court. When you attempt to flee, the bail bond company will employ the services of a bounty hunter. A bounty hunter is a professional skilled to find and capture a fugitive in exchange for a monetary reward.
If the attempts of the bail bonds agent to bring you back to jail are unsuccessful, your bail will be forfeited, and the company will lose its money. To recover the loss from bail forfeiture, they will seize the collateral provided by your bail bond co-signer.
Jails in Huntington Beach, CA include:
Huntington Beach Historic Jail
Huntington Beach Police Department
Courts in Huntington Beach, CA:
Superior Courthouse Justice Center
The Superior Court of California
Find a Reliable Huntington Beach Bail Bond Agent Near Me
Posting bail is a critical part of the criminal case process. When you successfully post your bail, you can secure a release from jail, return to work, and spend time with your family awaiting your trial. Unlike in Federal court, where you are released on a promise to return based on collateral secured from securities, most criminal cases in California will require a cash bail. Unless you face charges for an offense punishable by death, you are most certainly entitled to bail.
There are many ways to post bail, and the most common one is seeking bail bonds services. At Cali Bail Bonds, we will provide you with the finances you need to post bail and ensure a quick and stress-free release of your loved one from jail. Our Huntington Beach bail bond agents are on standby to guide you or your loved one through the bail process. Contact us today at 877-373-3631.