Home Blog Bail Bonds What Happens if You Don’t Have Money For Bail? Post Image

May 3, 2023  |  Posted by jesse  |  Bail Bonds

If a police officer arrests you and charges you with a crime, they will usually offer you bail. If you pay it, they will release you until your court date, letting you continue with your life as normal. 

Unfortunately, bail can be expensive, particularly in California. Most defendants don’t have tens of thousands of dollars in cash sitting in their bank accounts, waiting to make such payments.

Fortunately, you don’t need to pay the entire cost of bail upfront. Bail bondsmen offer services enabling you to reduce the overall cost and even pay nothing upfront to secure your release from jail. It sounds too good to be true, but it is enshrined in California law. Bail bondsmen can provide financial assistance, letting you go back to work or your family while you await trial. 

What Happens If You Can’t Afford Bail? 

If you can’t afford to pay bail in California, you have several options. The first is to remain in jail. Law enforcement will hold you there until your trial. 

Unfortunately, this option entails significant costs. Besides a loss of freedom, you cannot work or support your family. It can also put a strain on your relationships and lead to family breakdown. 

Another option is to request a bail reduction. Judges and courts may agree to this if your attorney puts forward a successful case to reduce the severity of the charges.

The final option is to work with a bail bondsman. They pay the full bail amount on your behalf in exchange for a 10% non-refundable fee. Then, when you show up at your court date, law enforcement returns their money to them. 

When you use some bail bondsmen, you may need to offer collateral. These assets (such as your home) act as an extra layer of security to protect them if you fail to attend your trial at the time specified by the court. (At Balboa Bail Bonds, we don’t require collateral). 

How much bail you must pay depends on the nature of the criminal law enforcement alleges you committed. The more severe it is, the higher the bail can be. In California, bail can regularly exceed $100,000. 

Please note that some defendants cannot apply for bail if law enforcement believes they committed a serious felony, such as murder. Defendants in this position must remain in jail until their trial on most occasions. 

California law also allows for pretrial release. Courts may decide to release you, even if you can’t afford to pay bail, as long as you meet specific criteria. In these cases, you don’t need to pay any money to law enforcement.

How Do Bail Bonds Work If You Can’t Pay Bail?

You don’t need to pay the full bail amount to law enforcement officials to get out of jail early. Instead, you can work with a trusted bail bondsman. 

The way these services work is simple. You call the bail bondsman or apply online to discuss your case. They then offer to pay your bail for you in exchange for a fee. 

Most bail bondsmen charge the maximum limit of 10% of the bail amount set by Californian law. However, our team can sometimes offer fees as low as 7%, depending on your circumstances and ties to the local community. 

Once you agree to the fee, the bail bondsman pays law enforcement to release you from jail. Most bail bondsmen are available twenty-four-seven, meaning you can contact them any time of day to get assistance. They will process your application quickly and submit all the relevant documents and money to law enforcement officials on your behalf. 

Police will then process the documents, hold the money in escrow, and release you from your cell. This process can take several hours, depending on the workload of the presiding officials. 

An Example Of How Bail Bonds Work In Practice

California law enforcement regularly asks for bail amounts running into tens of thousands of dollars, even for relatively minor charges. However, bail bondsmen can reduce your costs significantly. 

For example, suppose law enforcement posts a bail of $75,000 for a crime they allege you committed. Normally, you would have to pay the full amount out of cash savings (which could be difficult if you can’t access money from your jail cell). Usually, family members need to help you, and they might not have the money. 

However, if you go to a bail bondsman, the fee you pay is less than $7,500 – 10% of the bail amount or lower. The bail bondsman then posts a bond for the full amount, busting you out of jail. 

What if you don’t have $7,500? That’s no problem, either. Our team can post bail with 0% financing, no money down, and no collateral. You simply pay the bail bondsman fees over several months in manageable installments. 

How Can You Pay For A Bail Bond In California

Paying bail in California usually secures your release in hours, not weeks or months. You can sometimes pay bail after release, but these arrangements are rare. 

Bail bondsmen accept various payment methods from you directly or from family members and friends. Cash, credit cards, money orders, and Western Union Quick Connect are all accepted payment types. 

As a defendant in California, you are under no obligation to pay the bail bond. If you cannot afford bail, you can remain in jail until your trial date (usually several weeks or a few months). 

If law enforcement releases you because the bail bondsman pays your bail, but you later decide you don’t want to pay the bail bond, you will need to return to jail. That’s because the bail bondsman will no longer take responsibility for your case. 

Finding A Bail Bondsman In California

At Balboa Bail Bonds, we offer affordable bail bond solutions for defendants in jail, available 24/7. We accept a range of payment methods and offer 0% interest-free finance. Plus, we offer free price quotes and bail information over the phone.