Being arrested is a frightening and confusing process. The justice system is designed to intimidate the guilty into incriminating themselves and confessing, and this intimidating environment can have unpleasant effects on anyone – innocent or otherwise.
If you’re like most people, your first thought upon being arrested is something like, “how fast can I get myself out of here?” Thankfully, California’s cash-bail system allows the use of bail bond agents, meaning you can get out on bail even if you don’t have the cash to pay the full amount of your bail. But, the following pitfalls and mistakes are easy to make and can leave you stuck in prison or paying much higher fees:
Lying, Providing False Information, or Omitting Vital Information
The approval process for a bail bond usually requires providing personal information that includes:
- Your full name;
- Your address;
- Income information; and
- Your place of employment.
If this or any other information is falsified, you are at risk of either not getting approved for a bail bond, or having your bond forfeit later regardless of whether or not you comply with the bond agreement. Further, falsification can result in further criminal charges – the last thing you need.
Using an unqualified co-signer
If you’re faced with a high bail amount, and you don’t have sufficient collateral to cover the full amount, your bail bondsman may require a co-signer. A co-signer will be held financially responsible if you fail to uphold the bail agreement, so they need to:
- Honestly have the collateral required to cover the full amount; and
- Understand the risks if your bond is forfeit.
If it turns out that your co-signer isn’t qualified, it can delay the process while another co-signer is located – leaving you in jail longer than needed.
Waiting to contact a bail bond agent
Many arrests happen late in the night, and you might think that you need to wait until the next day to begin the bail bond process – but that’s not true. Full-service bail bond agencies like Balboa Bail Bonds operate 24/7 and will begin helping you the moment you call. While some paperwork will need to be wrapped up the next morning, getting started as early as possible is the best way to get out of jail fast. Many of our clients are out within the first 24 hours.
Hiring the wrong bail bond agent
There are many bail bond agencies out there, some of which are less credible than others. The standard premiums range from 10-15%, but some smaller (and dare we say “shady”) bond agencies may charge less – but remember, you get what you pay for. At Balboa Bail Bonds, we charge a low 10% premium and our services are the best: we start working with you and guiding you from the moment you call, and you have our support through the end of your trial. We work with your defense attorney to help in any way we can, and we know the local police departments and court systems.
Violating the terms of your bail
The most obvious mistake you can make is violating the terms of your bail, which can result in you being held responsible for paying the full bail amount. Violations may seem innocent, like traveling to a different state to visit family, but it’s critical that you understand the full agreement and don’t violate it. If you accidentally miss a court appearance, contact your bail bond agent immediately as we may be able to fix the situation – but only if you maintain open and honest communication with us.