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July 9, 2023  |  Posted by jesse  |  Bail Bonds

If you or a loved one is charged with a crime in San Diego, then you will be booked and processed. You will then need to remain in jail until your trial unless you pay your bail amount. The amount can be anywhere between a couple hundred and a few hundred thousand dollars. There are a wide variety of factors that will impact the cost of your bail. This includes:

  • The severity of the offense
  • Whether there were multiple offenses
  • Criminal history 
  • And more 

The judge at your bail hearing has a variety of powers and privileges that you should be aware of. They can refuse to set bail, waive the bail completely, and increase or decrease the standard bail amount in your case. 

In this article, we’ll explore some of the key factors that will determine your bail amount. This is important to be aware of whether you or a loved one has been charged with a crime. 

Severity Of Offense 

One of the main factors that will determine your bail amount is the severity of your offense. If you have been charged with a crime that is deemed more severe, then you will be considered more of a risk to the community. This could include charges such as murder or theft. Alternatively, if you have been charged with a crime that is deemed less severe, then you won’t be considered a threat to public safety. This is particularly true if your won’t charged with a violent crime. 

Another reason the severity of the offense impacts the bail amount is because it will impact the chance of you fleeing or failing to appear in court. If the crime is more severe then the punishment will match. As such, you will be more likely to try and escape the consequences. 

Criminal Status 

The judge may also consider your criminal status when they are determining your bail amount. In most cases, the judge will view your criminal history as well as your current criminal status. 

This could include information on:

  • Past arrests
  • Any convictions 
  • Failure to appear in court

If you do have a criminal record or you have a history of failing to appear in court, then it’s often deemed more likely that you will continue to exhibit this behavior. In cases like this, the court will typically set a higher bail amount, intended to ensure your future court appearance. 

In contrast, if you have no criminal history and you are not considered to be a flight risk, then the judge could choose a lower than standard bail amount. 

Bail Schedules 

In some cases, you may be able to post bail with law enforcers in the state of California before you are scheduled to appear in court for your bail hearing. In some cases, bail schedules will provide details on the recommended amounts for typical offenses. This will also take into account some of the factors that we have already discussed including things like the history of the defendant and whether or not they are considered to be a flight risk. 

The bail schedule in California is set by the Judicial Council. This can be found online with all the details that you need. If you bail the amount specified in the schedule, then you could be released immediately, even before you are booked. Be aware that the bail schedule may differ depending on the schedule. 

In some instances, there may be an on-call judge instead of a bail schedule. This means that a judge is able to set bail over a phone instead of during a typical court session. This is another alternative for those who want to post bail as soon as they are arrested instead of going to jail. 

Community Ties 

A judge will also consider your community ties when determining your bail amount. This is another factor that is thought to reflect on your likelihood to appear in court or pose a threat to the public community. Community ties can include anything from your employment to your relationships and connections with friends or family.

Strong family ties such as a long term job and a family in the local area will often lead to a more favorable outcome here. Alternatively, if there is no evidence of ties to the community and no family to speak of, then you may be required to pay a larger bail amount. 

Generally speaking, a judge will determine whether you are considered to be an upstanding citizen in your local community as well as the state of california. 

Financial Status 

Studies do suggest that your financial status may determine how much you will need to pay in bail to get out of jail. One research study suggested that those represented by public defenders the individual was more likely to be released on their own recognizance, without paying bail. However, another study explored the impact of the defendant’s ability to pay on the cost of bail. The study revealed that judges were more likely to set lower bail amounts for those who they believed were able to pay and higher amounts for individuals who were deemed unable to afford the cost. 

It is worth noting that a typical bail schedule will not consider an individual’s ability to pay. This means that individuals who can afford the cost are often released and those who can’t remain stuck in jail. That’s why bail bond services are often so important. They can help bridge the gap for those who are unable to afford the cost of their bail. With a bail bond company, you don’t have to worry about the full bail amount being too expensive. Instead, you will only need to cover the cost of a small percentage of the bail. This can be paid at a later date to the bond company. Parole Or Probation 

Another factor that will be used to determine your bail amount is whether or not you were on either parole or probation when you were arrested. This is deemed another factor that reflects your potential risk to the community. If you are currently on parole or probation, then it is a strong suggestion that you have already been convicted of a potentially dangerous crime. As such, a judge will be far less likely to risk releasing you again. Furthermore, if you have a pending appeal for another criminal conviction, it means that you have been found guilty and that you are now challenging the court. This could result in the judge believing you to be more likely to flee. 

Mental Illness

In California, bail amount is typically set higher for those with a history of mental illness. The reason for this is that it’s another factor which contributes to your risk to the public as well as to yourself. Defendants with a history of mental illness or also considered more likely to be a slight risk. A judge may also believe that it’s more likely that you will commit another crime while you are out on bail. Do be aware that the same is true for anyone with a history of drug abuse. 

However, courts will also take into consideration the support options and resources that are available to an individual. If someone can rely on their friends, family, or a specific support structure, then they are far less likely to feel helpless, alone or desperate. This may mean they can avoid falling back into their old habits. 

Failure To Appear 

Do you have a previous history of failing to appear in court when required. This is considered to be evidence of a lack of respect for the legal system and the court of law. It may lead a judge to believe that you would not respect the terms of your release. If there is a history of failing to appear, then they may feel as though you are unlikely to appear for your future trial as well. 

This also means that you are more of a risk to public safety. If you are successful at evading the law, then you will be able to complete more criminal activities. A judge will typically consider this when they are choosing your bail amount and may strive to make it more difficult for you to get out of jail. Particularly, if they feel that there is a risk of you committing more crimes in the future or your behavior getting worse. 

Penalty Potential 

The potential of a penalty connected to your offense may be another factor that is used to determine your bail amount. This refers to the maximum penalty that you may receive if you are convicted. Be aware that the penalty will depend on both the California laws as well as the severity of your offense. 

A crime with a potential penalty of more than a year’s imprisonment is deemed to be a more serious offense. In contrast, a crime with less than a year’s imprisonment as a penalty is considered to be far less severe. 

This is also another factor that will be used to determine whether or not you are a flight risk. If you are at risk of a longer criminal sentence, then you may be more likely to flee. 


Evidence from the crime you are charged with is also used to determine your bail amount. This will help the court understand the nature of your crimes as well as any of the potential risks that may be connected to your release. The evidence will also be used to determine the severity of the offense that you have been charged with. Algorithms 

There are algorithms that help judges determine what bail amount they should set. They can use data as well as statistical models when considering this that will help them decide on the potential threat and the likelihood of an individual committing another crime. Your information may be added to an algorithm to help a judge find the right answer. 

Police Interactions 

Finally police interactions can also have an impact on your bail amount. This could include whether you resist arrest. This will always be noted and may be discussed during your bail hearing. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you remain calm when you are arrested, while also understanding your rights. If you feel as though you are being wrongfully arrested, do not resist. Remain calm until you are able to speak with your lawyer. 

Be aware that the police will also often arrest people for the most severe crime that they can substantiate with the information at hand. This means that your bail amount could be based on the most severe crime that you are suspected of committing. 

What If You Can Not Afford The Bail Amount?

If you can not afford to cover the cost of the bail, you have three choices. First, you could request your lawyer to contest the bail and propose a lower number. Depending on extenuating factors discussed above, this may or may not prove to be successful. 

You could also think about using a bail bonds service. With a bail bonds service, a company agrees to provide the bail for you. This means that you can leave jail without delay and start preparing your defense at trial. You will need to pay a percentage of the total bail to the company in return. This is usually ten percent and can be paid over an extended period. 

Alternatively, you may simply want to remain in jail until your trial date. However, this could impact your ability to effectively prepare for your trial and likely will have a negative impact on your mental health. 

If you or a loved one needs support with your bail amount, we’re here to help. At Balboa Bail Bonds, we provide an expert, efficient proven bail bonds service that you can trust. If you are interested in learning more or you need to arrange bail now, please don’t hesitate to get in touch