If you are ever arrested in your life, you are most likely to be charged with a misdemeanor. While milder offenses than felonies, misdemeanors still come with multiple penalties, hefty fines, and months to a whole year in jail. This can drastically change a person’s life, damage their career, and impact their relationships. Even a minor crime can result in hundreds to thousands of dollars in bail fees, forcing many defendants to remain in jail throughout their trial.
If someone you love needs to pay bail for a misdemeanor charge, contact an agent at Balboa Bail Bonds immediately. We have years of experience getting defendants out of jail and back to their families. We believe every defendant deserves reliable support throughout their case, which is why we are available 24/7 to answer your questions and guide you through the bail process. Call Balboa Bail Bonds at (619) 760-2222 to get bail posted in San Diego, Riverside, or Orange County.
The state of California has three types of charges a defendant can face: infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. Infractions are for minor offenses, like traffic violations, that are handled with light fees, no jail time, and no bail. Misdemeanors and felonies, however, are more serious crimes that can result in you being placed behind bars, having to pay hundreds to thousands of dollars in court fines, and having to serve out probation.
A “misdemeanor” is defined as any charge that is punished with a maximum of one year in county jail, with a cap at 364 days in jail. Being charged with a misdemeanor may make a defendant eligible for informal probation, which may mean the defendant meeting with a judge after being released from jail to ensure that he or she does not commit another crime.
Misdemeanors are categorized as:
- Simple Misdemeanors: Most misdemeanors are only punished with up to six months in county jail and up to $1,000 in fines.
- Gross or Aggravated Misdemeanors: In more serious cases, a misdemeanor can be aggravated and result in up to one year in county jail and up to $1,000 in fines, plus additional court fees. Probation may also be extended.
Felonies are more serious that misdemeanors. With a felony, a defendant can be sent to a state prison, have to pay up to $10,000 in fines, receive a strike on his record, lose certain rights, and be placed on formal probation with a probation officer.
Many charges in California are wobblers, meaning the prosecutor has the discretion to pursue a misdemeanor or a felony. For example, most DUI charges are treated as misdemeanors, but if a defendant has three or more DUI convictions within a 10-year period or injured someone else in a DUI accident, then the prosecution can charge him with a felony.
Common misdemeanor charges include:
- DUI without injury
- Domestic violence
- Hit-and-runs without injuries
- Non-violent weapon offenses
- Violating a restraining order
- Certain sex crimes
- Theft crimes
Bail in California is set based on our state’s bail schedule, although some counties set their own rules for calculating bail. For example, in Orange County, misdemeanor bail is set based on the specific charge, a general bail schedule, or at $500 if the first two options are not available. In general, a misdemeanor charge will lead to a lower bail amount, but that can still reach into the thousands of dollars.
After being arrested, the defendant will attend a bail hearing where a judge will review the charges against him, hear arguments from both the prosecution and defense, and consult the county’s bail schedule. Depending on several factors, the judge will choose to release the defendant without bail or require bail. In general, defendants must pay bail in order to be released.
Factors that judges consider when setting bail include:
- The specific charge and county bail schedule
- How long the defendant could go to jail for a conviction
- Whether the defendant is a danger to the public
- Whether the defendant is a flight risk
- If there are any aggravating factors in the crime
Even though misdemeanors are less serious than felonies, defendants and their families can expect high bail amounts after an arrest. Violent crimes, like domestic violence, typically see higher bail amounts, and many defendants are unable to pay these fees out of pocket. In order to get out of jail and back home where you can plan your defense, you need to work with an experienced bail bond agent.
At Balboa Bail Bonds, we are veterans in the industry, with each agent having at least five years of experience. We offer bilingual English and Spanish support for our clients and are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. If your friend or family member needs bail posted today in San Diego, Riverside, and Orange County, call Balboa Bail Bonds at (619) 760-2222. We offer affordable financing options and military discounts.