When arrested for a crime in the State of California, you will usually be afforded the chance to post bail. In its simplest explanation, this means that you pay the courts a fee to be released from custody on the understanding that you will satisfy the terms of bail.
Before you do, though, it’s important to answer questions like “How long can you be out on bail?” and “Do you still go to jail if you pay bail?”. Here at Balboa Bail Bonds, our highly professional service ensures that you will get the best results at this difficult time. Let’s start by looking at what you can expect from the process.
Managing Your Freedom: Bail Time Constraints
Before asking how long can you be out on bail, it is important to understand when bail will be granted. The California Courts see most people accused of a crime within 24 hours while the law states that arraignments should occur within 48 hours (excluding weekends). Unless it is a very serious charge or you’re considered a high flight risk, your hearing should be accepted. Bail can be posted via cash, a property bond, or a bail bond. Regardless of the method used, posting bail entitles you to your freedom. You will almost always be released within 12 hours, although most people can expect to be free within four hours.
Understanding the Duration of Bail
The purpose of bail is to secure your freedom between the arrest and the trial. While you will need to satisfy the conditions of your bail, such as attending hearings, it allows you to get on with your life and prepare your case.
Generally speaking, a defendant not in custody will be entitled to a speedy trial within 45 days of their charge for a misdemeanor or 60 days for a felony. In these cases, the duration of bail will cover you up to the trial.
Bail Period: How Long Can You Stay Out?
While the aforementioned speedy trial is relevant in many cases, it isn’t the answer for all cases.
Defendants can waive their right to a speedy trial if they need more time to prepare or have health issues to attend to first. Meanwhile, the courts may find ‘good cause’ in alignment with PC 1382 to delay the trial. This usually relates to complex cases or the discovery of new evidence.
As with most states, California has stay-out-of-jail periods lasting between 90 days and 120 days depending on the circumstances of the case.
Factors Affecting Bail Length
When posting a bail bond in San Bernardino or another part of the Golden State, you should know that no two cases are identical. By now, you should know that the bail fee set by the courts will vary depending on the severity of the criminal charge.
The length of bail can be influenced by the type and severity of the criminal charge. However, there is a wider range of factors that could impact the duration of bail, such as;
- Trial date and whether you requested a speedy trial,
- Your past criminal history,
- Personal status including job and dependents,
- Whether the trial is delayed,
- The type of bail that is used,
- Past record of attending court hearings.
It should also be noted that the people representing you can help you negotiate a better bail term. Therefore, working with a bail bondsman who boasts a good working relationship with judges in the State of California is advised.
Extending Bail Duration: Is it Possible?
In most cases, trials start within the 90-day bail period. However, there are situations where the trial is delayed either due to evolving situations affecting the case or unforeseen outside circumstances (the pandemic was a great example) that cannot be legislated for.
While cases are relatively rare, it is possible to apply for an extension. You may need a longer bail if there has been a death in the immediate family or another situation that will stop you from preparing your case ahead of the initially proposed trial date.
When this happens, though, you will still be expected to attend hearings and satisfy all bail terms. In cases like the aforementioned family death situation, it may be possible to request lenient bail terms, such as temporarily leaving California to attend a funeral. When applying for extended bail durations due to personal illness, it must be accompanied by a treatment timeline from your doctor.
Maximum Time on Bail: What to Expect
Although some exceptions exist, as discussed, it is usually in the best interests of all parties for the trial to be conducted within 90 days. Judges do not want to create a backlog while defendants will often encounter increased legal expenses when a trial is drawn out. An extended state of uncertainty isn’t good for a defendant or their family either.
So, while the maximum time could technically extend beyond 90 days, you should expect the following;
- Bail to be negotiated for up to 90 days – or sooner if you have requested a speedy trial,
- Bail costs you a significant amount of money – the average figure is an estimated $50,000 for felonies,
- The courts to set several conditions for bail, such as not leaving California and attending hearings.
Finally, it should be noted that the duration of your bail has no influence on the verdict at trial.
Navigating the Timeframe of Bail
After being accused of a crime in California, gaining bail on positive terms will instantly give you the strongest platform for the difficult journey ahead. It keeps you out of jail between now and your trial date.
When posting a cash bail, you may want to exercise your right to a speedy trial as it allows you to receive your refunded money at the earliest opportunity. When using a bail bondsman, though, a longer duration may be more beneficial. It affords you more time to stay out of jail while simultaneously building your case with an attorney. In this instance, having the right bail bondsman and lawyer to negotiate the terms of your bond is vital.
If you need help navigating the minefield of posting bail in California, Balboa Bail Bonds can stump up the cash on your behalf and help you stay out of jail for the longest possible time. Want to learn more? Then get in touch today.