Home Blog Bail Bonds How Does Bail Work In California? Post Image

June 27, 2023  |  Posted by jesse  |  Bail Bonds

If you are accused of a crime in California, it can be a terrifying and stressful experience. This is certainly true if you are not sure what to expect or if you are unaware of your rights and your responsibilities in this situation. Once you are charged with a crime, you will be processed. You will then be required to remain in jail unless a judge has determined that you are not required to post bail. 

Posting bail refers to the amount that you will need to pay if you do not wish to remain in jail until your court hearing. This cost can be anything between $5,000 and $500,000 depending on the crime that you have charged with and any other extenuating circumstances. 

In this article, we will explain the process of posting bail in California including the options that are available to you and any other key pieces of information that you need to be aware of. 

Posting Bail In California Explained

There are different options that you can explore when posting bail in California. This includes:

  • Cash
  • Bail Bond
  • Property Bond 

Cash Bond 

Cash Bails are referenced in the California Penal Code Section 1269. If you would like to use a cash bail bond, then you need to make sure that you have the full amount of bail available either in cash or through a cashier’s check. In some cases, it may be possible to use a credit card. However, this will not be available in all jurisdictions. As such, you should not consider this a guarantee. 

Cash is by far the easiest way to post bail. However, it is highly unlikely that you will have the required amount available in cash. Even if you have it available in other assets, you will need to liquify these to free up the cash. This can take time and during this period, you will need to remain in jail. You can borrow this money from a friend or family member. However, there is also no guarantee that you know anyone who has this amount available freely to use.

Do be aware that while the cash will be returned to you if you attend all your court appearances, in some cases you may not be able to use the money in any way for as long as one year. If you fail to attend any of your required court appearances, 

It can also take as long as 12 weeks for the cash to be returned to you once your case is concluded. 

Property Bond 

Another option you could explore is a property bond. This is referenced in the California Penal Code Section 1276.5. 

Instead of posting a cash bond, you will post your bond through the equity that you currently hold in a property. The equity must be at least twice the bail bond. For instance, if you have a bail amount that is set at $200,000, then you must have at least $400,000 in available equity. The property must also have been recently appraised and estimated by a professional. 

If your property bond is accepted, then you will be released from jail. However, if you fail to appear for your court hearing, then a lien will be placed on the property. The property will then be foreclosed to cover the full cost of the bail. 

The main issue of using a property bond is that it can be a time consuming process. During this period, you will remain in jail. If your loved one has been charged with a crime, this can be incredibly stressful and also impact their ability to put forward the best defense. Due to these issues, property bonds are uncommon. However, the option remains available for those who have the required amount in equity. 

Bail Bond 

Bail bonds are the most common option for people who are posting bail in california. Bail bonds are referred to in Section 1276 of the California Penal Code. 

With a bail bond, you or the accused form a contract with a bail bond company. If you agree to appear in court, then the bail bond company will cover the total cost of the bail for you. They can also help ensure that the process of posting bail is as easy and as stress-free as possible. 

However, you will need to cover the cost of a premium for the bail bond company that is nonrefundable. This will usually be 10% of the total bail amount that the court has decided upon. In some cases this can be reduced to 8% where an attorney has referred you to a bail bond agent. This can result in significant savings. 

The benefit of a bail bond is that you do not need to have the bail amount available in cash or even in other assets such as property. This makes the process of posting bail far easier and more efficient. 

If you choose to use a bail bond company and you fail to appear in court, then the company forfeits the full bail amount. As such, it is highly likely that they will take action against you and may pursue you for the full bail amount. In some cases, a bail bond company will require you to provide capital to ensure that you do appear. This can be anything of value that you own. Some companies may not require you to complete this step but will take action if you fail to make your court date. 

Can You be Released Without Posting Bail?

You may be released without posting bail under the California Constitution Article 1, Section 12(C). In this case, a judge will choose to release you on your own recognizance (OR). Cases like this will usually occur if the criminal act is minor and you do not pose a threat to yourself or others. You are unlikely to be able to leave jail without posting jail if you have a criminal record, have failed to attend court hearings before or you are not considered to be an upstanding citizen in your local community. 

The Process Of Posting Bail in California

Once you have been charged with a crime, you will be taken into custody. A judge will then determine whether you need to post bail before you can leave jail. A judge will also set the amount of bail required. Again, this can be anything up to $500,000 depending on the crime that you have charged with and a variety of other factors. If you have been charged with multiple crimes, the bail amount will typically be based on the most serious crime. If you have a history of criminal behavior, then the bail amount can be double the average or standard amount. Once your bail amount is set, you will then be able to choose from the three options when posting bail. As mentioned, most people will use a bail bond company to post bail. You can choose from any of the bail bond companies operating throughout California. However, it is important to find a bail bond agency that you can trust and depend on. 

The bail bond company will handle all aspects of posting bail and can guide you through this process. They will approve you for a bond based on their own terms and conditions. At Balboa Bail Bonds we will not typically complete credit checks on our clients. We will also not require collateral for the majority of cases. 

If you are posting bail for a loved one, family member or friend, then it is possible to do this online or over the phone. This option is available through boat bail bond companies. Theoretically, that means that you can post bail even if you are not in the country or even the state. A bail bond agent will go down to the courthouse or jail and complete all the necessary steps for you.

Once you have posted bail, you will be free to leave jail. This can be an incredibly quick process with the right bail bond company and you may be out of jail within 24 hours of contacting the agency. 

Once you have left jail, it is your responsibility to ensure that you appear for the court dates required. However, if you use a bail bond company, it is likely that they will be in constant contact with you to ensure that there are no issues that will prevent you from appearing. Remember, it is in their financial interest that you do appear without fail. 

Find Out MoreWe hope this helps you understand everything that you need to be aware of regarding how bail bonds work in California. At Balboa Bail Bonds, we have a history of providing a fantastic service to our clients and offer discounts to military personnel. Our team is available 24/7 and we have bilingual team members who can help you through this process. 

If you are interested in learning more, please do not hesitate to get in touch today. A friendly member of our team will be happy to assist you further regardless of whether you or a loved one needs support posting bail or if you simply require more information.