Hearing that a loved one has been arrested is an unnerving experience. All you want is to get them home safe, where they can begin preparing for their trial, but if a bail amount has not been determined yet, you may have to wait until after the arraignment. If you are planning to co-sign bail for a family member or friend, then you should speak to a bail bond agent early on so that we can help you prepare for the arraignment.
What Occurs at a Bail Hearing?
A defendant’s first court appearance will be the arraignment, which should occur within 48 hours of an arrest. During the arraignment, the defendant will be read their rights, be informed of the charges they are facing, and be offered the chance to make a plea of “guilty,” “not guilty,” or “no contest.”
The judge overseeing the arraignment will also determine if the defendant needs to post bail to be released from jail for the duration of their trial, or if they can be released on their own recognizance – meaning they are responsible enough to attend all court appearances without the financial incentive of bail. A judge may release a defendant without bail if the charge was minor, no one was injured, and the defendant has a clean record.
If bail is required, the judge will consult either the local bail schedule or California’s bail schedule to determine the maximum amount bail can be set at. From there, the judge will consider several factors and arguments made by the defendant’s attorney about how low bail should be set. These factors may include the defendant’s:
- Community ties
- Employment history
- Criminal record
- Current charges and any aggravated factors
- Flight risk
The judge will then order a certain amount of bail for the defendant to post in order to get out of custody, and schedule the next court appearance.
What Can a Co-signer Do During a Bail Hearing?
If you plan on co-signing bail for a defendant, you have a vested interest in having bail set as low as possible. Judges have final authority on how low or high bail is set at, but you can help your loved one by speaking to their attorney. It is the responsibility of a defendant and their attorney to present evidence of that the defendant is not a flight risk and should not be burdened by high bail costs. You can assist your loved one by collecting documents that provide evidence of your loved one’s community ties, employment history, and financial responsibility, as well as any financial hardships that might limit their ability to pay bail.
What a Co-Signer Can Do After a Bail Hearing?
After bail has been set, the defendant will be eligible to post bail. A friend, family member, romantic partner, or co-worker can post bail for the defendant as a co-signer. Unless you have significant collateral or money on hand, you as a co-signer will often have to go through a bail bond agent. Even before attending a bail hearing, you should contact a reliable and experienced bail bond agent who can get bail posted fast. When selecting a bail bond agency, you should consider:
- Their experience in the industry
- Their knowledge of the local courts
- Reviews from former clients, including co-signers
- Whether they accept collateral
- If they have flexible payment plans
- If they offer discounts for members of the military
- If they offer deals on specific charges
Should I Speak to a Bail Bond Agent Before a Bail Hearing?
If someone you love has been arrested, it is vital that you speak to a bail bonds agent as early as possible. Our agents at Balboa Bail Bonds can act fast to determine what jail your loved one is in, if bail has been set, and what your options are prior to a bail hearing. We can sit down with you and walk you through the process of co-signing so that you are prepared to make an informed decision after an arraignment.
At Balboa Bail Bonds, we are available 24/7, 365 days a year, to post bail for defendants in San Diego, Riverside, and Orange County. Each of our agents has at least five to 10 years in the industry and is fluent in Spanish, enabling us to provide reliable answers to all of your questions. We also offer affordable payment plans. Call us today at (619) 760-2222 and bring your loved one home.