Getting arrested and ending up in jail is one of the worst experiences anyone could wish for. In case you’re not lucky enough to find yourself in jail, the only thing on your mind is to get out as soon as you can. For you to be released, you need to get booked in custody before posting bail.
Exit Bail Bonds is a bail bonding agency that will take you through the process of understanding how bail services work. We can arrange to have you freed from jail as you await court. We provide 24/7 bail bond services throughout Ventura, CA and Ventura County in California.
Definition of Bail Bonds
Bail bonds are agreements made by bail bonds agents on behalf of defendants for their release from jail. The purpose of a bail bond is to ensure that the defendant shows up in court on the appointed date and time. A certain percentage of the amount as set by the court must be paid to the agent. This amount is usually non-refundable. In case you don’t show up in court on the agreed date, the agent loses the money; Consequently, they have to monitor your moves and ensure you appear before the judge.
Types of Bail Bonds
The following list includes the most common types of bail bonds:
- Surety Bond – This is a form of collateral required by the bail bond agent from you or the co-signer because the agent is held liable in case you do not show up in court on the agreed date. Most bail bond agents charge a fee of 10 percent of the total bail amount in full.
- Immigration Bond – These are bonds used for releasing foreign nationals detained by immigration service in the United States. They can have the highest percentage fee because of the high level of risk involved and many other factors.
- Cash Bond – Cash bonds occur when you can pay the bail in full using cash. Depending on the court, you may also pay by money order, check, or credit card. The bail money is returned after the case terminates and after you have attended court proceedings as agreed. Bail bond companies step in to assist low-income earning citizens to be released from jail.
- Unsecured Bond – This bond doesn’t require you to pay any money upfront. Instead, you sign an agreement stating that you’ll reimburse the bail money if you don’t honor the release-on-bail orders.
- Property Bond – This is also referred to as a secured bond. This is where you require property as the pledge to the court. Your property is held and returned after the case ends if you show up in court on the agreed date. In most cases, the judges will require that the equity of the property be double the bond amount.
- Federal Bond – Federal bond is required if you commit a federal crime. Federal bonds are more expensive and, therefore, they are sustained by insurance companies.
Why You Should Know the Bail Bond Process
The bail bond process can be confusing and scary when it’s your first time to get arrested, and you have to involve a company that deals with bail bonds. Many people have no clue about bail bonds and only get to hear about them through media. It’s crucial to know how the bail process and services work and get more informed on what to expect. A clear understanding of the process and choosing a good bondsman may make the process easy and help you get released from jail as soon as possible.
Arrest, Booking and Bail Process
After an arrest has been made, you are booked in jail. Booking is a process that involves verifying your personal details, searching for other warrants, and taking fingerprints and photographs. You’re then searched and your personal items confiscated before you’re placed in jail. The confiscated items are given to you upon release from jail, which can happen with or without posting bail depending on the judge’s discretion.
The authorities will be mainly concerned that you show up in court on the required hearing date. A judge will consider the following issues before they decide whether to release you without posting bail:
- Whether you hold any other criminal record
- How serious is the crime committed?
- Whether you are a threat to the community
- Whether you’ll go into hiding after being released
In case you were released without posting bail, a warrant of arrest will be issued against you if you abscond from appearing before the court on your scheduled date.
In a few instances, a written promise that you’ll show up in court is not sufficient and, therefore, a financial agreement becomes the best assurance that you'll show up. The financial agreement is what is considered bail.
Bail proceedings are different depending on the court. The court has to hold a hearing that will determine if it will grant you bail and the specific bail amount. During the hearing, the court considers the following:
- Your physical and mental condition
- Your source of funding
- Any drug or alcohol abuse history
- Your residence and how long you’ve been residing there
- Criminal history
- Your family ties
The judge may also put limitations upon your release, for example, limit your travel or impose a curfew.
If you cannot afford to pay your bail, you may get in touch with a bail bond agency. The agency will gather information regarding your situation. The bondsmen will need to know where you’re being detained, where you work, what you’ve been charged with, how long you’ve been detained, etc. Once the agency determines that you will not fail to appear in court, the bond is then availed for purchase. You'll then be required to sign all the necessary paperwork. After that, the bond is paid and you’ll be released from jail.
After paying the bail fee, detainees in cities’ jails are usually released faster compared to those in county jails where the process is often longer. One factor that determines the efficiency of the process is the number of jail occupants, which is usually higher in county jails than in cities. Nevertheless, you have similar legal entitlements before signing a bail bond in Ventura, CA and Ventura County versus as a detainee in any other city in the state.
When you fail to present yourself in court on all the set dates as agreed upon without any valid reason, the judge declares your bail money or any other collateral to be forfeited. This is what is known as bail forfeiture. The bail bond company that posted your bail then bears the burden of paying the outstanding amount. The money, property or any other collateral you posted becomes the property of the court handling your case and it will never be refunded. However, if the judge believes your reason to be valid, there are some adjustments that are made. For instance, the hearing may be rescheduled. If the excuse is not valid, the judge issues an arrest warrant against you. If you still don’t appear on the date the warrant is served, the court proceeds with the bail forfeiture and if you get rearrested, the chances of securing another bail are close to zero.
Note that the court will have no authority to forfeit your bail in case of case dismissal and no complaint has been filed in 15 days from the arraignment date. However, you still need to have made all the court appearances.
If the bail amount is more than $400, the court clerk has to mail forfeiture notice to the bail agent who appears on the bond agreement and the surety 30 days before the forfeiture. The defendant has to appear before the court within six months of the forfeiture date or 6 months from when the mailing is done. If this happens, the court uplifts the forfeiture order and exonerates the bond. In the meantime, the bail bonds company bounty hunters may be trying to locate the defendant if s/he is believed to be on the run.
Bail forfeiture is the main punishment for the defendant’s violation of the set conditions of release. Besides just losing the cash, skipping a bail hearing can have serious consequences on the defendant. For instance, it could have a negative impact on his/her integrity which affects the case.
The Role of Bounty Hunters
In Ventura County, private citizens that are not law enforcement are also allowed to track down, arrest and bring fugitives back into custody. Those private citizens who do this sort of work are known as bounty hunters. Even though they need to be private citizens, most of them have law enforcement training. Ventura county bounty hunters must have the following qualifications;
- They must enroll in a special program in order to have their licenses
- They must complete a fugitive recovery training
- They must take a bail license examination where they should score not less than 70%
- They should be 18 years old and above
- They should have no felony conviction history
Bounty hunters are employed by bail bond companies and they come in where a defendant fails to appear for the bail hearing and s/he is on the run. They are supposed to hunt them down and thereafter, they are rewarded by a bail bondsman. If the fugitive is not found, bail bondsmen risk losing a lot of their money to the court. In some companies, a bail bondsman also does the work of a bounty hunter.
Legal limitations on bounty hunters
California has strict rules regarding bounty hunting. For instance, they should have legal documentation form their employer (a bail bondsman) permitting them to apprehend the victim. Additionally, they should notify law enforcement that they are out hunting for the fugitive to make an arrest. They should do this 6 hours before they arrest the suspect.
Bounty hunters operating in the state are not allowed to forcibly enter a place of residence except if the circumstances demand which is rarely the case. Therefore, a bounty hunter cannot forcibly enter a home or any other premises unless there is a law dictating the same.
Bounty hunters should not pose as law enforcement officers. They are not allowed to put on anything that could mislead the public into thinking that they are law enforcement. They always should carry their license and paperwork with them all the time so they can attest they have the authorization to work as bail hunters. Licensed private detectives can be allowed to operate as bounty hunters without having to acquire another license.
Bounty hunters are allowed to go as far as investigating which involves interviewing family and friends of the fugitive and conducting surveillance on them if that is what it takes to catch the fugitive. However, they have to do this within the restrictions of the law. It is, therefore, their duty to understand what the law requires of them so they don’t overstep and get arrested for it.
What Happens in Case a Warrant of Arrest Has Already Been Issued?
If a warrant of arrest has been issued before you are arrested officially, you should contact a bail bond company promptly. The company will process your application and post your bail most suitably. You may turn yourself in which plays a significant role in showing the court that you're credible and sincere in resolving the issue. The bondmen will arrange for payment of your bail after you’ve been formally charged; therefore, you will not spend time in jail.
Charges That Require Bail Bond
Almost all criminal charges are eligible for bail bonds. Criminal charges can either be classified as misdemeanors or felonies and further classified depending on the severity of the crime. Offenses that are viewed as minor or misdemeanors require cash bonds that have to be paid fully to the jail. In this case, you may not have to seek bail bond services since the amount to be paid is not much. The jail is allowed to say the suitable amount that is needed to enable the agent to pay the bail. However, a majority of the crimes have a pre-set bond schedule depending on their classification.
If you’re charged with multiple crimes or the crime is severe, you have to appear before a hearing. The judge might decide not to give bail if there’s a reason to make them believe that you may flee or you pose a danger to the society.
What Are the Rates of Bail Bonds?
The Department of Insurance sets the standard rate for bonds at 10% of the bail amount. For instance, the bail fee would be 1,000 dollars if the total amount of bail is 10,000 dollars. In Ventura, CA and Ventura County, most bail bond companies offer discounts to groups such as property owners, unions, and military.
Find Bail Services Near Me
If by sheer bad luck you find yourself in jail, Exit Bail Bonds is readily available to help you deal with the overwhelming process of getting yourself out of jail. We will answer all your questions and ensure that you thoroughly understand the whole bail process. We have excellent customer service that will guide you and your loved ones through this entire process. If you are in Ventura County, CA, give us a call today at 805-570-3292, and we will ensure you get a bail bond as fast as possible so you can spend time with your loved ones.