Hearing that your family member or friend has been arrested can be shocking. A million questions may run through your mind, but the most intimidating will likely be, “How do I get them home?” In California, posting bail is the main method for getting someone you know out of jail after an arrest.
Unfortunately, our state can set bail in the thousands, if not the tens or hundreds of thousands, of dollars, making it all but impossible for you to post bail immediately. While a bail bond agent at Balboa Bail Bonds will only charge you a 10% premium to get your loved one back home, it may be possible to get their bail reduced further.
How Do Judges Set Bail?
Bail can be set on a defendant’s arrest warrant or by a judge within 24 hours of an arrest. Each county in California has its own bail schedule that judges may follow when assigning bail, but they can also increase bail at their own discretion, according to California Penal Code 1275. A judge may be convinced by a prosecutor that a defendant is a threat to the community or there is a chance he or she will cause further injuries to a victim, and thereby assign a higher amount of bail.
As a whole, judges will assign bail based on:
- The defendant’s criminal history
- The severity of the alleged crimes
- If the defendant used a weapon or firearm during a crime
- If there were any aggravating factors
- If the defendant is a flight risk
- If the defendant is a threat to public safety
Can Bail Be Reduced?
In addition to increasing bail, California judges can also reduce bail during a defendant’s arraignment. An arraignment is a defendant’s first opportunity to speak on his own behalf. During this hearing, he can enter a plea of guilty, no contest, or not guilty. When a defendant pleads not guilty, the judge will address bail. At this point, both the prosecution and defense have the opportunity to submit motions to have bail reduced or increased. It may even be possible for your defense attorney to argue that you should be released without bail.
When evaluating if bail should be reduced, a judge will look at:
- A defendant’s criminal history (minor to no prior charges may lead to reduced bail)
- A defendant’s ability to pay bail
- If a defendant lives locally
- If a defendant owns property in a local community
- If a defendant has family that lives nearby
- If a defendant is an active member of local volunteer programs, religious groups, or community projects
A judge may also consider the defendant’s eligibility for conditional release. With conditional release, a defendant may be able to pay reduced bail in return for agreeing to surrender a passport, enter inpatient treatment, wear a remote alcohol monitor (such as a SCRAM device), or submit to house arrest. By giving up certain freedoms, the defendant may have his bail reduced to a price he can more easily afford.
Can a Defendant Request a Reduction After a Bail Hearing?
Typically, an arraignment or bail hearing is your only opportunity to file a motion for bail reduction, but there are scenarios where judges will consider reducing bail. If you are facing multiple charges and your lawyer succeeds in getting some charges reduced or dropped, a judge may consider reevaluating your bail.
However, this is only in rare circumstances, and your best option is to speak to a bail bond agent as early as possible. At Balboa Bail Bonds, we offer fast, affordable bail bonds for defendants in San Diego, Riverside, and Orange County. Our agents are veterans in the industry with at least 10 years of experience. If you need help getting your loved one out of jail and back home, we can answer all of your questions and guide you through the bail process. We also customize each payment plan to our clients’ situations and only charge a 10% premium.
To get bail posted today, call Balboa Bail Bonds at (619) 760-2222 or contact us online.