When you’re charged with a crime and arrested, the court will typically set bail. This is an amount calculated based on the severity of your crime and your criminal record. You can post bail using cash, a bail bond, or a property bond. Whichever method works for you is fine, and you’ll be released from custody pending a trial.
You’re then allowed out on bail until your trial is finished. However, what happens if you stay in jail and don’t post bail? Does your bond go down when you stay in jail or will it remain fixed? More to the point, can you get out of jail without paying bail? We answer all of your pressing questions in this guide to help you understand how bail bonds work in California and what happens if you choose to stay in jail.
Does Your Bond Decrease When You Remain In Jail?
Most people are aware that you don’t go to jail if you pay bail. You cover the amount set by the court – usually through a bail bond agency – and get released. From here, you can go back home and spend time with your family until your court dates come up. If you attend all the court dates, you won’t be put back in jail – unless, of course, you’re found guilty of the crime and a jail sentence is given.
So, what happens if you ignore the bail bond and stay in jail?
Some people believe that this will lower the bond amount, meaning your bail is more affordable. It’s based on the idea that your trial may not begin for 60 days or more following your release. If you stayed in jail for 30 days and then posted bail, would it be available at a reduced rate?
No – that’s the short way to answer your question.
It all comes back to how bail bonds work. In the introduction, we touched upon the fact that bail is set depending on a series of factors. The main two are:
- Your criminal record
- The severity of the crime
Each California county will have its own bail schedule – you can find the San Diego Bail Schedule here for a list of crimes and the minimum bail amount charged. For example, you could be charged a minimum of $25,000 for cruelty to a child while unlawful acts on college or university grounds is only $250.
Individuals who have been previously arrested will likely have extra charges added to their bail. They’re seen as a greater risk by the court, so the bail amount is a lot higher to discourage them from trying to flee.
So, why doesn’t your bond decrease when you stay in jail? Because bail bonds are not calculated based on how long you’ll be out of jail. You could stay in jail for a few hours or thirty days, but this doesn’t alter the fact that you’re being charged with the same crime.
Can You Escape Bail Payments?
Technically, you can escape bail payments by ignoring bail altogether and staying in jail the whole time. Very few people choose to do this as being incarcerated is never enjoyable, especially if you feel like you’ll win your trial and be found not guilty.
We must stress that this is the only way to avoid making bail payments. If you have agreed to bail and posted a bond, then you may have used a bail bond company. In this case, there’s a chance you agreed to a finance plan to pay the premium set by the company. This will be 10% of the total bail amount, and you may make repayments every month until you’ve paid it all off.
Those of you in agreements like this cannot escape any bail payments made to the bail bond company. You must pay the fee as the company is posting a bail bond on your behalf. If you don’t pay them, they can legally go to court and surrender bail while getting the court to order you to pay them. Also, most bail bond agencies will take collateral when dealing with clients, so if you skip payments they can claim your house or car.
Can You Get Out Of Jail Without Paying Bail?
Strictly speaking, you can get out of jail without using your money to pay bail. As mentioned above, dealing with a bail bond company is the way forward. They will provide you with a bail bond that’s given to the court as a guarantee that you’ll attend all your trial dates through to its conclusion.
A bail bond is a surety bond that’s provided by a third-party insurance company. In this scenario, you’re only paying the 10% fee to the bail bond agency. As such, you haven’t technically paid bail – it’s all tied up in the bond. If you attend all your court dates until the trial officially ends, the bail bond is released. The money goes back to the bail bond agency and then to the initial surety bond insurance company.
In other words, nobody has really paid bail. All you’ve done is pay a 10% fee, which saves a fortune. Of course, this whole scenario is only possible if you follow the bail terms. If you miss court dates or try to jump bail, you’ll be back in jail and may be forced to pay the full bail amount yourself.
Are There Alternatives To Paying Bail?
If your bail amount is too much to pay, you might have a few alternatives to consider. One is to get a bail bond, but we’ve spoken about that already. Another is to use a property bond, which uses your house as collateral. It’s a high-risk idea, but if you follow the bail terms you should be okay.
One other thing you could do is look at Pretrial Release schemes for people with low income. They’re sometimes offered by the court for people who can’t afford bail, letting them go back to their families until the court dates come around. Keep in mind it’s extremely rare to be granted this and you will likely be put under house arrest anyway.
The final alternative is to ask your bail bond company to talk to the court and request a bail hearing. During this hearing, they can negotiate a lower bail fee. You’re still paying bail, but at least it’s a lot less than it originally was.
In conclusion, your bond does not go down when you stay in jail. It’s also somewhat possible to get out of jail without technically paying bail, but you need a bail bond company to help. If you’re looking for bail bonds in San Diego, give Balboa Bail Bonds a call today!