Once you are arrested for a crime, you are booked awaiting an arraignment. This is likely to be a stressful situation especially if you are a first time offender. However, posting bail allows you to resume your daily activities while waiting for your court proceedings. If you cannot afford cash bail, a surety bonds company can post the bail on your behalf.
In Murrieta, Riverside County, California, Exit Bail Bonds provides bail bonds services for defendants who cannot afford to post their bail. Our agents can help you to navigate through the complexities of bail bonds and ensure your release quickly!
The Arrest and Booking Process in Riverside, CA
When you are arrested for committing a felony or misdemeanor, you are booked into one of the jails in Riverside County. These jails include Blythe Jail, Indio Jail, Larry D Smith Banning Jail, the Southwest Detention Centre, and the Riverside County Jail. Processing and booking involve collecting and verifying the arrestee’s personal details, photos, fingerprints and collection of any personal items you have with you. The booking officer also records the details of the alleged crime and performs a criminal background check to know if the arrestee has any pending case, violated any court order, or the nature of their past offenses. The arrestee remains in jail until they post bail, are arraigned, released on own recognizance, or the case is closed.
People who are arrested for minor crimes are often released from jail without posting bail. On the other hand, most felony suspects undergo bail hearings process to determine their bail eligibility.
Bail hearings are court proceedings in which the court determines whether the defendant is eligible for bail and the amount they are to pay. You may need to hire a criminal attorney to help you in securing the best bail arrangement. An attorney understands the bail and legal process better and they are more equipped to represent you well.
During the bail hearing, the court determines whether you qualify for bail depending on the nature of the crime, your criminal record, your physical and mental state, drug and alcohol use, your ties to the community, your flight risk, your behavior in attending court proceedings, and whether you pose any danger to the community.
The court may also place some conditions if they award you bail. These conditions include:
- The requirement to enroll in an educational or training program
- Taking a medical examination and treatment
- Avoiding drug and alcohol use
- Living at a selected custodian’s residence
- Checking in with the required authorities
- Avoiding the use of firearms and engaging with crime victims
- Executing a bond agreement to guarantee your appearance at the scheduled date
Defendants arrested for violations such as assault by a life term prisoner (PC 4500) and escape by a prison inmate (PC 4530) are not eligible for bail under the Riverside County Bail Schedule.
Definition of Bail Bonds
A bail bond is an agreement among the defendant, the court, the cosigner, and the surety company, where the defendant promises to appear in court on the scheduled date and time. The surety company pays the bail amount on behalf of the defendant. Bail bond agents in California are entitled to a 10% non-refundable and non-negotiable premium.
Depending on the bail bond agency that the defendant chooses, they may be subject to additional costs such as court appearance fees, annual premiums, liability (resumption) fees, and bond rewrite fees.
A bail bond is cheap for the defendant or cosigner as they only pay 10% of the bail amount upfront. This means that if the bail amount is set at $10000, the payable amount will be $1000.
Types of Bail Bonds
If you have enough money, you can skip the bail bond process by posting the entire bail amount. If you comply with terms, the full bail amount (of course minus the administration fees) will be returned once your case is concluded.
A surety bond is the bail bond used when the bail amount set is too high. It's often secured from a bondsman by your loved ones. Typically, it costs ten percent of your set bail amount. In case you miss the scheduled court date (skip bail) the bail bond agent pays the total surety bond and then hires bounty hunters to locate you.
Released on Personal Recognizance
To be released on personal recognizance, you need to sign a document as an assurance to show up in court. Skipping bail could result in additional charges. This form of bail is not granted to defendants charged with serious crimes.
Also known as a secured bond, a property bond permits the court to issue a lien on your property in full bail amount. This form of bond is more time-consuming than getting a bond from a bondsman.
It also involves a great deal of risk on your part. The court could foreclose your property if you skip bail. Besides that, in most cases, the value of the property is greater than the total bond amount.
If charged with a federal crime such as money laundering, you should post a federal bond to be released from custody. Typically, these bonds are 15% to 20% more costly than surety bonds. They are sold by licensed bail bond agents.
If your nationality is of another country, you need to get immigration bail bonds.
Who are Bail Bond Agents and Cosigners?
Bail bond agents are individuals or organizations that act as surety by pledging their monetary or other resources to secure the release of a defendant. Their pledge assures the court that the defendant will attend court hearings on the scheduled date and time. In order to process your request for a bail bond, the bail bond agent will require your full name and booking number of the arrestee, the facility in which they are in custody, and the bail amount.
On the other hand, a cosigner is a person who takes responsibility for the defendant’s bond. The cosigner agrees to pay the bail amount and ensures that the defendant adheres to the court's stipulations. As a cosigner, you have several rights including the right to have full details of the case. The cosigner has the right to revoke the bond should they feel uncomfortable about cosigning for the defendant.
Most bond agents require a cosigner to pledge some of their assets as collateral should the defendant fail to appear in court. The cosigner has the authority to demand that the accused meets some requirements before they accept to cosign. These requirements include attending a drug treatment program. California requires that the cosigner be a citizen of the US, with stable employment and good credit.
Legal Provisions for Bail
The 8th Amendment gives every American citizen the right to apply for bail and secure an early release awaiting the court date. The amount of bail the defendant has to pay depends upon the nature of the crime, the previous criminal record of the defendant, and whether the defendant poses a potential threat to the community. Serious crimes attract a higher bail amount. The court may deny bail if the defendant committed a very serious crime or is a high flight risk.
To receive bail, the defendant must agree to fulfill the requirements of the court including attending the ordered classes, court sessions and adhering to restraining orders. In Murrieta, CA, and the greater Riverside County, the bail is set based upon the Riverside County Bail Schedule. The bail schedule contains the rules for setting bail for persons arrested on charges of alleged felony and misdemeanor, without a warrant.
When a cosigner revokes a bond, they are refunded 90% of the bond money. The defendant is then returned to jail to await arraignment. The defendant remains in jail until they find another cosigner.
The bail bond can also be revoked if the bail bond agent surrenders off the bail case. The agent may surrender where they feel the defendant has not adhered to the terms of the agreement or poses a significant flight risk.
Once revoked, the court issues an arrest warrant for the defendant.
Security and Collateral
Collateral refers to the assets offered to the bail bond agent to secure the release of the defendant. The collateral covers the risk for the bail agent in case the defendant fails to appear in court. Cars, deeds, houses, bank accounts, credit cards, and jewelry are some of the items commonly used collateral. The bond agent secures the collateral until the case is resolved.
Getting Your Bail Money Back from the Court
Bail is not a criminal sentence or penalty and anyone who pays bail has a right to have that money returned provided the defendant adheres to all bail terms and conditions. Typically, you may get a bail refund or the bail forfeited.
Bail Refund or Release
If you are released from custody on bail, the bail is repaid to the payer once your case is concluded. The refund of the bail depends mainly in the jurisdiction in which the bail was paid and the type of bail used. If you posted cash bail, it could take two to six weeks. When it comes to a property bond, the court releases the lien on the property. Just like the refund of cash bail payments, the lien release takes a few weeks to conclude.
In federal courts, for instance, bail is not released automatically after your case has been concluded. The bail payer has to file a petition with the court asking it to release the bail paid or a lien placed on the property used as security.
It is worth noting that even though your bail will be released, the court will keep some amount as an administrative fee.
If you are released from custody but fail to adhere to the terms enacted by the court when granting the bail or fail to show up in court, the total bail amount is forfeited. For instance, if you paid $500 as cash bail, you lose that $500 if you miss a court hearing. If a property was involved and you failed to appear in court, the court can foreclose or repossess the secured property to recover the set bail amount.
Moreover, the presiding judge issues a bench warrant for the defendant's arrest. The bondsman and the cosigner have one hundred and eighty days to locate you or notify the police to arrest you. If the 180 days are over and the defendant has not been arrested the bail is forfeited forever. Also, a new bail amount will be set and you will be required to post the new bail amount to be released from custody again.
Fortunately, you can have your bail reinstated. That means the court allows you to remain out of custody until your case is concluded as well as returns on your bail. You can petition the court not to forfeit your bail by presenting a reasonable reason like medical emergency why you failed to show up in court.
Additionally, you do not have to put yourself in a situation where your cosigner and bondsman are locating you for an arrest. Instead, get in touch with the court and your bondsman immediately. If you give them a full description of what happened as soon as possible, chances are your forfeiture bond will be recalled and your court date will be rescheduled.
How Do I Identify the Best Agent for My Bail?
Your experience in accessing and securing bail depends largely on the bail bonds agent you choose. The best agent is one who has your interest at heart. They are concerned about your welfare and are not out to take advantage of your misfortune. Here are important pointers to whether the bonds agent is the best fit for you.
- Check their licensing
The law requires bails bonds agents to be registered and licensed. Bond agents are regulated by the California Department of Insurance.
2. Check their place of business
They should have a physical office where you can visit for consultations and clarifications. Avoid agents you find lurking within the corridors of the courtroom.
3. What are their charges?
Most bails bond agents charge a non-negotiable and non-refundable 10% premium price. However, other agencies may charge various additional charges such as court appearance fees, resumption fees, bond rewrite fees, and annual premiums. Make sure you have a clear understanding of any associated charges the agent is charging.
4. Check out their reviews
Since most companies advertise their services online, it is easier to find reviews from their previous customers. These reviews will provide you with other customers’ experience and help you make a decision on the best agent.
5. What services do they offer?
You need to understand the types of services covered by the firm. The most common services include surety risk assessment, bond forfeitures, and transportation services.
How experienced is the bail bonds service? The period they have been in business and their success rate should guide you towards the best in the industry. An experienced agent will guide you through the bail process and ensure the process is smooth.
7. Customer service
The best agent is one who will handle your case with the utmost confidentiality. They should offer no judgment for any person being in jail. They should be available for consultation and should be fast in attending to your needs.
Find a Bail Agent Near Me
Exit Bail Bonds has all the above qualities to make your bail experience effortless. If you are in Murrieta or in Riverside County, contact our office at 951-384-2844 to seek any clarification concerning our bail bonds services.