If the police suspect that you have committed a crime, you may be arrested and held in jail. Fortunately, arrangements can be made to release you from jail as you await your trial. You may require the services of a bail bonds company depending on how much your bail costs.
Exit Bail Bonds is a company that will work hard to get you out of jail faster. If you are in Fontana, CA and San Bernardino County, our agents will ensure that you understand the bail process and discuss with you the best option for your case before bailing you out.
What is Bail?
Bail can be described as the process of freeing someone who has been arrested before their criminal case ends. It involves a bail bond agent paying the court a certain amount of money that, in most cases, is equivalent to 10 percent of the bail amount. This money is paid to ensure that you must appear in court for your trial. Bail can be granted at any stage either immediately after being arrested or after the court issues a sentence.
Generally, there are three outcomes after you’ve been arrested; you get released immediately, you are charged then released on bail, or you are charged and remain in jail until your case ends. Basically, the bail process ensures that you’re released from jail before the court determines whether you are guilty or not.
The Bail Hearing
The bailing process varies so much from one court to the other. However, the court will schedule a hearing date to decide whether or not you will be granted bail. Note that there are extreme cases in which the court may deny a person a surety bond. If you are granted bail, the court will then decide on the appropriate amount of bail that you should pay. During the bail hearing proceeding, the court will consider the following:
- Your physical and mental health
- Your financial standing and whether or not you will be able to raise the required bail amount
- Your family relations and how much they could affect the pending case
- Your criminal history and whether or not you have a history of being involved in drugs or alcohol abuse or other crimes
- Any record you might have and if you honored your previous requirements to appear for a court proceeding
- How long you have been living in your neighborhood
The court will also determine your risk to the community after you have been granted bail. If the court feels that you may pose a threat to your family or the community at large, you will remain held with no chance of getting released.
After all these considerations and the court decides to grant you bail, the judge will proceed to impose restrictions that you must adhere to after your release from jail.
Note that the defendant is allowed by the law to appeal a bail decision if they aren’t satisfied with the judge’s decision and/or they feel that their rights aren’t observed, specifically, the rights under the 8th Amendment for fair bail amounts for every citizen. When this happens, the court’s decision will be questioned to determine whether or not it abused its discretion. However, it is important to know that the only time a court can uphold its decision is if the decision is clearly erroneous, unreasonable or arbitrary. This has to be supported by laws or facts of the case for the court to change its decision.
Prior to determining the amount of money you have to pay to be released on bail, the court has to impose certain limitations which may be similar to those proven guilty of crimes and are on probation. If you violate bail conditions or you fail to appear before the court as agreed, you may forfeit your bail or taken back into custody to wait for your trial from there.
Some bail conditions include:
- Travel Restrictions – If you are out on bail, you are not allowed to leave your residence unless as otherwise directed by the court;
- Fire-arms Restrictions – Bail conditions may restrict you from being in possession of firearms even if you did not use any firearm to commit your crime;
- Employment – If you are not employed, the court may require you to find a job, or maintain your job while you are on bail;
- Substance Abuse – If you are in a case that relates to drugs or substance abuse, bail conditions will require you to keep off any drugs or alcohol;
- Pretrial Check-Ins – If you are on probation, you are required to check-in regularly with pretrial services officers that must ensure that you comply with court orders or conditions.
Conditions That May Deny You Bail
There has to be a hearing to determine whether to release you on bail or not and the amount of money to be set as your bail. During the hearing, the following will be considered:
- Court and criminal history – If the court determines that you have defaulted a court order requiring you to appear after a release on bail, your amount of bail may be set high. A similar situation will occur if you have a history of severe criminal convictions such as murder and rape
- Public Safety – The court will deny you bail if your release poses a risk to others
- The seriousness of the crime – Serious crimes will attract higher bails compared to less serious crimes
- Family obligations – If the court determines that you have dependents or you’re responsible for taking care of a family, your bail amount might be less
- Community connections – The judge will look at whether you own a business in the community or where your family is located. This determines whether you have strong ties with the community, and consequently, fewer chances of fleeing
What is the Procedure for Bail Payment?
Each jurisdiction has its rules and procedures for determining bail, how payments are made and the type of person that can be released on bail. In California, bail payment has to be done at a specific location, either a courthouse or jail. For instance, cash bail can be done at your San Bernardino County jail. A clerk or cashier will be at the location to receive bail payments. The payer has to provide the cashier with information such as the name of the defender, the booking number, and the amount of bail to be paid. The cashier will confirm all this information before the payer (in most cases, a bondsman) can pay the correct bail amount.
After receiving the payment, the office of the cashier will notify the officials in custody, who will release the defendant from jail. The defendant may be released immediately if the cashier is within the same location as the jail or it may take more time if they are not within the same location.
Bail can be paid in cash, credit or debit card, money order or by check, depending on the convenience of the payer and the type of bail bond.
What are the Different Types of Bail Bonds?
The following are the most common types of bail bonds:
- Personal Recognizance or Own Recognizance Bond – This type of bond can only take place after the court has held a bail hearing. They are very similar to a “release on citation”. If the court agrees to this bail, the defendant is released with the stipulation that they will appear in court later as agreed, and they have to comply with other conditions of bail as set by the court.
- Cash Bond – The court sets the amount of bail after a bail hearing. The defendant is then released from police custody after paying the full cash bail amount. If you cannot afford the amount, you might get a bail bond company to pay the money on your behalf.
- Secured Bond – Secured bonds are also known as property bonds. Here, the defender offers the court property equivalent to the total amount of bail. If the defendant fails to appear in court as agreed, the court will hold the property used as security to recover the outstanding bail.
- Unsecured Bond – Unsecured bonds may also be termed as signature bonds. They are similar to both a release on citation and an Own Recognizance Bond. In these cases, the defendant has to sign an agreement stating that failure to appear before the court on the agreed date will force them to forgo the bail money.
- Surety Bond – This refers to a type of bail payment made by a bail bond agent on behalf of the defendant. The agent will act as surety promising the court to pay the total bail amount if the defendant fails to show up in court. In return, they will charge a fee (usually 10% of the total bail money).
- Immigration Bond – This mainly applies to release foreigners who get arrested in the United States. Because of the high risk involved, the fee percentage is usually higher compared to other bonds.
What Happens to Bail Money?
Anyone that posts bail has a right to be refunded their money if they comply with the terms and conditions of bail. When someone pays bail, two things are likely to happen; either the bail is given back, or it is forfeited.
If you’ve been released from custody on bail and your case comes to a conclusion, the court will repay your bail money.
On the other hand, bail forfeiture may occur if you fail to (a) appear before the court on the agreed date and time or (b) comply with any conditions that were set by the court during the bail application.
If you forfeit your bail, you may have a chance to appeal for the court to reinstate your bail. Reinstatement will be done if you can prove that you had valid reasons not to show up in court, for example, you had a medical emergency.
The Role of Bail Bond Agencies
Even with the chance of getting released from jail ahead of your trial, there is a possibility that you may not be able to raise the required amount for bail. For this reason, you may opt for the help of bail bond agencies. These are the agencies that guarantee to pay the bail amount to the courts, on behalf of the defendant, if the defendant fails to show up on the set date for the hearing of his/her case.
Since the bail is set when the defendant is in custody, the defendant is expected to try and reach out to his/her family or friends outside the jail for bail payment. If this is not possible or the defendant’s family or friends are unable to raise the bail amount, the use of bail bonds agencies’ services becomes paramount.
The bail bond agency you will choose will need to know your exact location, which is the name and physical location of where you are jailed. The agency will also want to know your full names and your booking number. Lastly, the agent working on your case will need to know the amount of your bail in order to determine how much money you will be paying the agency once you get out of jail.
Once you have contacted a bail bond agency, the process of paying your bail bond will begin. Since you will have already agreed on the payment options and how much money you will be paying the agency after your release, the agency will give the court the surety bond to ensure that you are released from custody. As long as you appear in court as required, without missing any dates, you will not be paying any more money to the bail bond agency.
There are several issues associated with bail bond agencies though, which you should know before time to be well prepared once you encounter them. The agency will require you to pay a non-refundable premium before they can pay the bail bond to the court. The premium is usually 10% of the bail amount. In addition to that, the defendant or a person acting on his/her behalf is required to secure the entire bail bond. The third issue will be in the event you abscond, the agency will do what it takes to recover their money, including the use of force and bounty hunters to locate you.
Recovering Your Bail Money from a Bail Bond Agent
If you are using agents to pay for your bond, you have to pay them a fee. The fee is set at a standard rate of 10 percent of the bail. Should you comply with the conditions of bond, the agent will refund your bond money minus their 10 percent fee.
In case you violate the bail conditions, the agents will try to find you and take you back into police custody.
Bail Bond Agents Near Me
The bail process can be more complicated than you have ever imagined. It might involve lots of money and significant financial risks. Depending on the circumstances, the consequences might seriously disrupt your life. At Exit Bail Bonds, we are committed to offering you all the support that you might need during the process of bail. We understand the craziness that comes with the process, and we will take care of this for you and ensure you are released within the shortest time possible. If you require our services in Fontana and in the greater San Bernardino Bail Bonds County area call us at 909-822-3948 so that we can arrange for your release.