While nobody wants to get arrested and spend time in custody, there are still many cases of arrests and jail confinement in Santa Rosa. This situation can be stressful for your loved ones and friends. However, you are innocent until proven guilty, and you have a right to bail so that you can proceed with your normal life out of custody as you await your court proceedings. If you are looking for efficient and reliable Santa Rosa bail bonds services, please get in touch with the Exit Bail Bonds agency. Our local agents are always ready to help you as soon as you contact us.
Overview of Bail Bonds in California
Bail is the amount of money that a defendant or a surety company deposits to ensure the defendant will attend court proceedings at later dates. The bond can be in the form of cash or a bond secured from a bonds agent. Essentially, the bail bond is a three-party contract between the defendant, the court, and a surety company. Once you post the bail bond, the defendant is released from custody.
Factors that Determine Bail Amounts in California
According to California law, a panel of judges in each County predetermines the bail amount for the commonly occurring offenses. The judges prepare a bail schedule that contains the recommended amount of bail for each offense. California courts use the bail schedule to set up bail for defendants.
However, a judge will sometimes set a bail that is outside the schedule, either increasing or lowering the bail amount. The change will depend on the character of the defendant and the circumstances of each case. Judges often raise the bail amount if there is fear about public safety.
If the judge decides to change the bail amount, the court will inform you during your first or second court appearance while you are still in custody. Once the bail is set, either by a judge in court or through the bail schedule, you need to post a bond to get out of jail. Working with a Santa Rosa bail bonds agent can help fast track the process and get you freedom quickly.
The Bail Process in California
The bail process starts when you get arrested. After arrest, the officer will take you to police custody. This could be a police cell or local jail. Then the police will book you, after which a bail amount is set.
During the booking process, the police officer will record identifying information about you and search for your criminal records. Specifically, the police will record your name, date of birth, and your physical characteristics. Then they will take your photographs and fingerprints. This will be followed by a search for your previous criminal record. The police will search for your physical body and take away any items you may have, such as a wallet, phone, or keys. The items will be returned when you are released.
After booking, you will be taken to a local jail or placed in a police station holding cell.
Now once you are in custody, the question will be: how do you get out? You will have to pay bail money or post a bail bond. Since you will be in custody, your relatives or friends will have to check the bond schedule and pay to get you released. Your friends or relatives (co-signer) can also get in touch with a Bail Bonds firm to review the bond schedule for you.
However, not all offenses will require you to post bail or a bond. Minor crimes such as DUI with no property damage or injuries will not need bail. So, if you are arrested for a minor offense, the police can give you a written citation. After you sign the citation and promise to attend court on the assigned date, the police will release you.
If you are arrested for a felony or higher-level misdemeanor, the police may not release you at this point. They will take you through the bail and bond process and release you only after you pay the bail amount or post bond.
During the arraignment, the court will decide your bail amount or release you on your own recognizance. Often, authorities try to determine if you will attend your future court dates. In some instances, the judge may decide to release you on your own recognizance. Here, you will have to promise in writing that you will show up for court when required. In deciding to release you on your own recognizance, the judge will often consider the seriousness of your offense and whether you have previous criminal convictions. The judge will also consider your likelihood to flee the court jurisdiction, and whether you pose a danger to society if you are released.
If the court released you on your own recognizance, then you fail to show up in court on your assigned date, the court may issue a warrant for your arrest.
However, if the court decides to post your bail, you will have three options, as we will discuss later.
California Bail Bonds
Bail is a financial guarantee you give to that you will show up in court on your appointed date. So you pay a certain amount of money as your guarantee. Once you pay then, the authorities can release you from the local jail or police custody.
If you consequently continue to attend court as promised, your bail money will be refunded once your case ends. However, if you don’t attend, you could be arrested, and you will lose the bail money.
Generally, a court will hold a bail hearing to determine whether to grant you bail and the appropriate bail amount. In rare instances, the court can deny you bail. For example, if you have an arrest warrant, or you committed another felony while on bail. Similarly, if you violated any bail conditions, the court will likely deny you bail.
In deciding your bail, the judge considers the following factors:
- How long you have lived in the community
- Your prior record relating to attending court
- Prior criminal convictions
- Whether you have a history of drug and substance abuse
- Your financial resources
- Your state of mind and physical condition
- Your family ties
In addition to the financial bail, a court can impose other conditions on your release. For instance, the court could limit your travel or require you to go for psychological, drug, or alcohol treatment.
Routine Conditions for California Bail
During the hearing, the court can decide to release you, reduce your bail amount, or impose conditions on your bail. If the judge gives an inclination that you may not get bail, your lawyer may also suggest conditions of the bond to try and convince the judge to provide you with a bond or lower it further if the judge has agreed on an amount.
Whichever case, some bail conditions generally apply for California, and they can be specific to your charges. The court may decide to:
- place you under house arrest
- limit your travel to only within the state
- restrict your contact with the plaintiff
- forfeit your driver’s license and passport
- order you to wear a Secure continuous remote alcohol monitor, and
- order you not to drink and drive
What to Do After The Court Grants You Bail
Once the court decides on your bail amount, you have three options: continue staying in custody, pay the cash bail, or post bond.
Let’s look at these options in detail.
Continued stay in custody — This is your first option. You can just wait in jail until your day in court arrives. But the disadvantage is staying in jail curtails your freedom. You can’t go to work or home to spend time with your family.
Paying cash bail — The second option is to pay cash bail. You can pay the entire bail amount to the jail, and you will be free to go home as you wait for the day to attend court.
This option is possible if you had enough money to pay the bond.
You can pay the cash through cash, travelers check, a cashier’s check, money order, or personal checks. However, the court clerk may refuse to accept personal checks.
In some cases, where a large amount of bail money is required, or the source of your cash is suspected, the court may reject your bail.
For instance, if you get accused of money laundering or drug trafficking, and you post a cash bail of $200,000, the court can be suspicious of the source of your money. In such a scenario, it will be upon you to prove to the court that your cash is legitimate. Otherwise, the court may refuse to take your money.
What happens if you don’t have enough cash and can’t post your bail? What should you do to avoid the specter of the court rejecting your bail cash? You should secure a bond from a renowned Santa Rosa bail bonds agency such as the Exit Bail Bonds.
Posting a bail bond — Paying your bail bond through a licensed California bail bond agent is convenient because you pay only a small percentage (usually 10 percent) of the bail amount to the bondsman. The bondsman will then pay the bond amount to the court to secure your release.
If the bail amount is large, some bail bonds companies may demand that you put up collateral when they give you the bond. The guarantee is often in terms of real property, which the company will retain until your case ends.
Once you are released, you should make sure to follow the court’s conditions given with your bond. Most important, you attend all court sessions if required to do so. Because if you fail to participate in the court may forfeit your bail. And the bail bond company can decide to sell your collateral to recover their bond money.
Co-signing a California Bail Bond
Mostly, a defendant’s relative or friend will post the bond since the defendant will be in custody while the bail process plays out. This relative will, thus, co-sign the bond with the bond company.
Co-signing the bond comes with certain obligations. If the defendant fails to attend court or flees from the state, the bail bonds company will attempt to find him or her. However, if they fail to locate the defendant and the court forfeits the bail money, the company expects you to refund their bail amount.
However, if the defendant observes all court conditions until the case is decided, then the co-signer’s bail liability ends. In case you have unpaid premiums on the bond, you still have to pay them.
Bail Bond Fees
Several bail bond fees apply, depending on your situation.
Bond refiling fees — When you make your initial court appearance, the prosecution is expected to file formal charges against you. However, they may fail to do so because they have too many cases to handle, or they may lack enough evidence to charge you with. This causes a delay in filing formal charges against you.
If you are released from jail on bail, and the DA doesn’t charge you within 15 business days after, your bail bond is automatically canceled. So, you will need a new bail bond to keep you out of jail when the DA finally files the charges. Thus, a bail bond agent may require you to pay the fees again.
Annual premiums on bail bonds — You may be involved in a case that takes several years to conclude. Some bail bonds agents may require you to renew the bond after one year.
However, some agents have a one-fee per bond policy. So, you won’t have to pay extra premiums, even if your case takes several years in court.
Resumption of liability fees — When you have a bail bond, failure to appear in court can have dire consequences. The court can charge you with a similar offense to your underlying charge, forfeit your bail, and issue an arrest warrant against you.
The court will notify your bail bond agent, who will be expected to bring you back before the court at the earliest possible date.
You may miss your court appearance date with a valid reason. You might just have forgotten the date, or it could be due to a simple clerical error or a miscommunication. Other reasons that courts readily agree are illness, injury, custody in another jurisdiction, or if you suffered mental illness.
Whatever the case, you will now have to go to court with a letter informing the court that your bondsman is still willing to honor your bond. Some bail bond agencies may charge you resumption of liability fees for this extra service. You can avoid these complications if you consult a Santa Rosa bail bonds agent early enough. An agent can explain to you the requirements for each bond and make your premium payments bearable.
Find a Bail Bonds Agent Near Me
You don’t have to let your friend or loved one spend another day in a Sonoma County jail or police cell. Our Santa Rosa bail bonds agent at the Exit Bail Bonds can help secure his or her freedom as soon as possible. After many years of assisting people with similar cases, we know how to navigate the complicated court and bail bond system. We have also earned the respect of law enforcement authorities and jails, so that we can work seamlessly with them. Call us immediately at 951-788-1722 to review your case and see how best to secure your loved one’s freedom.