Paying bail after an arrest can be a soul-crushing experience. Even if you have savings, you may be looking at thousands of dollars just to get back home to your family. But if you have a prior arrest on your record, that can increase the price drastically.
How Is Bail Set?
When someone is arrested on a criminal charge, he or she will be granted a bail hearing within 48 hours where a judge will determine if he or she can receive bail… or not. The typical bail process in California involves the judge reviewing the defendant’s charges, consulting the bail schedule, and considering any aggravating factors. Bail can be denied if a defendant:
- Committed a serious crime such as murder
- Is a threat to the public
- Is a flight risk, meaning they are likely to flee the state or country
- Has multiple criminal convictions on their record
If a judge believes a defendant will attend all court appearances and hearings, then the defendant may be released on their “own recognizance,” without having to pay bail. Bail can vary from $500 to $100,000, depending on the district court and the charge.
Given that most people do not have this kind of money sitting in their savings, defendants often contact a bail bond agency to post bail for them for a small fee. At Balboa Bail Bonds, we only charge a 10% premium and have a variety of affordable financing options depending on your circumstances.
Prior Arrests and Bail Schedules
As mentioned above, having a criminal record can impact the final amount of bail you are expected to pay. For one, a bail schedule may include rules for prior arrests. For example, in California, misdemeanor vehicle charges have a base bail amount set by each county’s schedule; this base amount is increased if a defendant has prior violations from the DMV.
In more serious cases, having a strike on your record from a previous felony conviction can lead to a massive increase in bail. In Orange County, each strike can result in an additional $100,000 on top of the base bail amount.
Even if you do not have a strike on your record, the bail schedule may outline different bail amounts for more than one instance of a charge. For example, a second domestic violence charge can double bail in San Diego County from $50,000 to $100,000, while a charge like stalking can increase from $50,000 to $150,000.
Another factor to consider is how the judge will evaluate your record. When judges offer bail, they want assurance that defendants will follow the law when released and respect the authority of the court. Multiple convictions are a sign that a defendant does not respect the law, and seeing that on your record can motivate a judge to impose harsher restrictions on you. A judge can even a deny a defendant bail if he or she has multiple convictions.
Call 24/7 to Post Bail Today
It is hard to say what exact impact a prior arrest will have on your bail hearing. If a prior conviction is unrelated to the current case, it may not increase the bail amount, but this will all come down to the judge overseeing the bail hearing. In any case, if you or someone you love needs bail posted, look no further than Balboa Bail Bonds. As veterans in the industry, we have years of experience working closely with defendants charged with crimes in San Diego, Riverside, and Orange County. We can get bail posted today and provide support throughout your trial. Call us at (619) 760-2222 to speak to a bilingual bail bond agent.