Bail is paid to the court for a defendant who has been arrested to secure their release from police custody before the date of the case hearing. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to post bail for a friend or relative, you will need expert representation and guidance from a bail bonds agency. To get a better understanding of the bail bonds and how they work around Bakersfield, CA and the Kern County area, you can contact Exit Bail Bonds and speak with one of our competent bail bonds agent.
What is Bail?
Bail is often a financial agreement between a defendant and the court. Its main aim is to assure the court that if you are released from police custody, you will stick around and show up for the case proceedings. When one is arrested for an offense, they are booked into jail then a bail hearing is scheduled for them. A judge determines the amount of bond to be paid during the bail hearing. You can post bail for a loved one in the form of cash or property.
If you cannot afford to pay the full amount set for you as bail, then you have the option to seek the services of a surety bonds company. Through the help of a bail agent, the surety company will post a bail bond on your behalf. If you cannot post bail via any available means, then your loved one is likely to remain in police custody until the case hearing date.
Common Types of Bail Bonds and How to Acquire Them
Bailing your loved one out of police custody is not a simple process since you will be required to navigate the different bail options available to you. Some of the most common types of bail you can acquire to get your loved one freed in the Kern County area include:
The citation release is the easiest and best type of bail option you can get. It is issued by the arresting officer ordering you to appear in court on a given date. For a citation release, the defendant will not go into police custody, and you don’t apply for it; rather, it is issued after minor offenses such as violation of traffic rules. If the arresting officer does not grant you with a citation release and decides to take you to jail, you will have to file for a different type of bail bond.
The cash bail is paid in full when you have access to the amount of money set by the judge. Different factors concerning the defendant determine the amount established as bail. For more severe crimes, the bond set is likely to be higher than for minor offenses. However, for some cases, the bail amount may be paid in the form of check and credit cards. If the judge believes you are a high flight risk, they will set bail high enough that you can’t afford to pay it in cash.
If you pay a cash bail, the amount spent is refunded after the defendant appears in court and the case ends; but if the defendant violates the court order or gets rearrested while out on bail, the amount is not refunded.
If the judge or the prosecution team thinks that you acquired the bail feloniously, the judge will hold the release but also schedule another hearing to resolve that issue. The term feloniously acquired means you obtained the bail through a felonious occurrence or an illegal transaction or act.
Consequently, it is your responsibility to present evidence that you acquired the money legally. If you prove successfully, the judge will accept the bail. Failure to do so, the judge won't accept the bail and depending mainly on your case's facts, it could result in an increased bail amount.
The reason why this is a bone of contention is to make sure you attend the court hearings. It is believed that if a defendant obtained bail through felonious means, chances of appearing in court are minimal.
Any experienced criminal defense lawyer will advise you on the importance of securing bail through a bondsman even when you have enough money to secure cash bail. It helps in retaining a low profile, especially when accused of selling high-profit drugs.
When you need to get your loved one out of jail, and you can’t afford to pay a cash bail, the only way you can release them from custody is by seeking the services of a surety bonds company. The bail agent will offer you a surety bond with a typical 10% service fees/premium and also ensures that you appear for the court hearing.
The bail bondsman will expect you to give a particular item – typically, title deeds and car deeds – as collateral for the amount they will pay as your bail. If you fail to appear for the hearing the bail agent will be held accountable, and the court may end up failing to return the bail to the surety bond company. In this case, the bail bondsman will seize the property you provided as collateral to compensate for the money they lost.
Although most states do not accept this type of bail, the state laws of California allow a property bond for some offenses. With this type of bail, a property’s full rights are used as collateral. There are different types of property that can be used, but real estate is the most commonly accepted form of guarantee.
Unlike the surety bond, a property bond takes a long time to acquire. This is because the court requires the value of the property to be assessed. The value must measure up to the amount of bail set by the judge for the collateral to get accepted. In case the defendant for whom you posted bail fails to appear to court without a valid reason, the property used as collateral gets seized.
Immigration Bail Bond
Non-citizens of the United States can only use Immigration bail. Since there is no legal status for the arrest, the process of determining eligibility for the bail could be quite challenging. With the help of an experienced immigration bail agent, you will be able to seek and acquire this kind of bond for your non-resident relative.
The recognizance release is as easy to acquire as a citation release. However, the recognizance release is issued if you have already been arrested and put in police custody. Although no money gets charged for this release, failure to appear for the court hearing could attract significant fines. It is important to note that you have to fight in court to get a recognizance release and the judge could deny the request.
What Factors Could Contribute to Bail Denial
Being in jail can be a stressful experience since it means a person is not able to enjoy their normal lives. The first step when you find out that your loved one is in police custody is to get them out as soon as possible. In most cases, your loved one will be eligible for bail, and you can get them out without any complications. However, in some situations, the judge may deny bail, and the defendant must remain in police custody until the trial date. Here are some reasons why a judge may deny bail:
- High flight risk
If a person has a history of failing to appear in court, the judge has the right to believe that they are likely to flee and abandon the particular case. The attitude of the defendant may also lead to mistrust from the judge leading to bail denial.
- The severity of the crime committed
For someone who is accused of severe crimes like murder or attempted murder, their bail is likely to be set very high or denied altogether. Since these crimes could have very hefty penalties, the defendants may be tempted to violate the court orders and skip trial in case of a release.
- The Defendant is out on parole or probation
Most judges have little or no sympathy for repeat offenders. This is because the court already allowed them another chance to be in the society through probation or parole, but they still violated the law. This is usually taken as the misuse of the freedom given, and the court may decide to keep them in jail until the trial date. Additionally, individuals with other pending court cases are more likely to get bail denial compared to first-time offenders.
- A threat to the public
Before the judge grants you bail, they must evaluate the impact you will have when released back to society. If you have committed crimes such as assault and stalking, the court may deem you a threat to the public and hence, deny you bail. Similarly, if a person has caused harm to someone else and got arrested, the court perceives that the person may do it again. To prevent such an occurrence, the judge ensures that the defendant will remain in custody until the case is completed.
- If the defendant is not a US Citizen
If a person who is not a citizen of the United States gets arrested for a crime, their immigration status is put into consideration when setting bail. Regardless of the offense that they are accused of, their likelihood of fleeing and returning to their country is deemed higher compared to that of citizens. Hence, their bail request is likely to be denied. Additionally, if the defendant is in the country illegally, the judge will not allow release until the case is concluded and the defendant has proven innocent.
What are the Conditions of Bail in California?
If you're released from custody on own recognizance or your bail is set at a reduced amount, the judge could impose terms and conditions. The criminal defense lawyer could also suggest conditions when persuading the judge to reduce the bail amount.
Common bail terms and conditions include:
- Restricting travel,
- Surrendering your driver's license and passport,
- Checking in an inpatient hospital,
- Wearing a Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor device (SCRAM), and
- Placing you on house arrest through electronic monitoring or putting on a GPS tracking gadget.
The options are limitless. But the judge can't impose a condition that breaks your Constitutional Due Process Rights.
Bail Payment Procedure
Every court has its rules on how bail is set, who cannot be released as well as how bail should be paid. Generally, to pay bail, you will be required to travel to either the jail or courthouse and make payments to a clerk or cashier. You will also be required to provide the name of the defendant, total bail amount, and booking number.
After making the payments, the clerk will ask the correction officers to release the defendant. In jurisdictions where the jail is situated in the same location as the clerk's office, the defendant will be released almost immediately.
You can make the bail payment either in cash, money order, debit or credit card, cashier's check, or traveler's check.
What are the Responsibilities of a Co-signer?
A person who bails another person is called a co-signer. Posting bail for a loved one comes with responsibility; to get a loved one from police custody, you will be required to sign a contract between you, the court, and the bondsman posting the bond.
Co-signing also involves the use of valuable assets like vehicles, home, or jewelry. This guarantees the bail bond agent to get the funds pleaded with bail bond to court back. If the defendant flees and can't be located within a given amount of time, you will either surrender the asset used as collateral or pay the full bond amount.
If you think the defendant will not show up in court, you can reach the bond bail agent and request the bond to be taken away. The bond bail agent will then have the defendant arrested and taken back to custody.
What Takes Place if you Skip Bail?
Skipping bail in California is a severe offense. If the underlying offense is charged as a misdemeanor, skipping bail is considered as a California misdemeanor. And if your charge is a California felony, failure to show up in court will attract another felony.
In both instances, the judge will order a bench warrant for arrest. If you posted cash bail, the court will forfeit the whole amount. Likewise, your bail bond agent will lose the entire bond amount.
If you used collateral as security, the bonding company will sell your asset to get the funds it has lost. If there was no collateral used, the bondsman will employ bounty hunters to locate the defendant.
A bounty hunter is paid a portion of the total bond but after a defendant is located. A bounty hunter has the power to arrest and return you to the authority from which you fled.
Nevertheless, if you show up within one hundred and eighty days of your bail forfeiture notice and have a compelling reason why you did not initially attend the court, the judge could exonerate and vacate the bond. Common satisfactory reasons include serious diseases, been detained in another jail, insanity, and disability.
Find a Bail Bond Agent Near Me
As mentioned above, your bail request may be approved or denied. In either case, you will need an experienced bail bonds agent to help you in posting the set bail or evaluating your case and recommending the best option for you. This what the Exit Bail Bonds agents are dedicated to doing. For years, we have been helping residents of Bakersfield and the Kern County area by educating them on bail bonds as well as bailing them out. Even for your current situation, you can rely on us for efficient and professional services. Just call us anytime at 661-808-8181 to get in touch with an agent near you.