Facing arrest or spending any amount of time in jail is an experience that everybody wants to avoid. You will do whatever you can to stay on the right side of the law. However, you may be unlucky and end up in police custody. When it happens, your main concern will be how to gain your freedom in the shortest time possible.
After your booking and processing, the fastest route to freedom is through bail. Posting bail is paying a specific amount of money to ensure your immediate release. If the bail amount is too high, you can get a bail bond. A bail bond is an official document that secures your release from detention awaiting a trial. It is a contract among you, a cosigner, a bail bondsman, and the court. In the written agreement, you agree to pay a specific portion of the bail amount and the bail bondsman will offset the balance at a fee. Also, the cosigner agrees to ensure that you meet the court’s conditions for your bail release. The requirements include attending court hearings, meetings, and compulsory classes.
At Exit Bail Bonds, we make your freedom our priority. We will start processing your bail immediately after receiving your call to get you out of custody as soon as possible. We post bail for our Thousand Oaks clients whenever they need us.
How the Bail Process Works
The bail process involves paying a specific amount of money before the police release you from custody. You must also promise to attend all of your court hearings as one of the release conditions. If you honor your promise and attend all court hearings, you get your bail amount back. If you miss court sessions, the police may arrest you, and you forfeit your money.
Bail proceedings may vary across different courts. However, the general practice is for the court to hold a bail hearing during which the judge will decide whether you should receive bail and the appropriate amount. Courts can deny you bail in extraordinary cases. Usually, judges set bail according to a bail schedule. They may lower or raise that amount depending on the context of your case. If you are in Thousand Oaks, for instance, the judge will use Ventura County Bail Schedule.
The court will consider:
- Your mental and physical condition
- Your criminal history
- Your family ties
- Your financial resources
- Any record of alcohol or drug abuse
- Any evidence relating to previous court appearances
- Your residency period in the community
While setting your bail amount, the court may also impose further restrictions on your freedom, such as:
- Imposing a curfew
- Limiting your travel
- Revoking your firearm ownership rights
- Demanding psychological, medical, alcohol, or drug testing or treatment
Once the court sets your bail amount, you must post or pay the amount or a specific percentage to the court. You can deposit cash or use other authorized cash substitutes like cashier’s check or money order. After you post bail, the judge will sign your release order.
If you cannot afford your bail amount, a bail bond agent can pay on your behalf and ensure a bond. Bond agents charge a non-refundable service fee, which California limits at 10% of your total bail. However, the bond agency can give you a lower rate at its discretion. The bail bond agency will commit to paying the remaining bail amount if you fail to attend the scheduled court hearings.
The Arrest and Booking Procedure
Your criminal proceedings start when the police arrest you. The police may detain you if they have reasonable grounds, if they witness you commit a crime, or if they have an arrest warrant signed by a judge. For a felony, the police may arrest you if someone else observes the crime. If the police claim to have an order but do not have it with them, they may still apprehend you, but they must produce the warrant as soon as possible.
For a minor offense, the police may give you a written citation and release you. You must sign the summon and promise to be in court at a specified date. If you do not get a citation, you will have to go through the booking, bail, and bail bond procedures.
After your arrest, the police will take you into custody for booking, also known as processing. During booking, the police follow a standard procedure as follows:
- Record personal information - your name, your date of birth, and your physical attributes
- Record available information about your alleged crime
- Record your photographs and fingerprints
- Conduct a criminal background check
- Conduct a body search for any weapons and personal property. The officer will systematically list and retain your items such as a wallet or purse, phone, or keys. You get your belongings back after your release
- Put you in a holding cell in the police station or local jail
While in the cell or jail, you will not have access to your cell phone. However, you have a right to make at least one phone call. You can either call a bail bonds company or a family member who will contact a bail guarantor on your behalf. During the call, ensure that you give as much information as possible about your arrest and your alleged crime.
The Bail Bond Process
As soon as we receive the call about your arrest, we start processing the paperwork necessary to post your bail. To begin the process, you or a family member will give us the information we need to fill out your application, such as:
- Your name
- Date of birth
- Place of work
- Place of arrest
- Place of detention
- Possible charges
- Bail amount
After we get all the information, you will pay the agency fee, set at 10% of the bail amount. You will also have to provide collateral whose value equals the bail amount. The security can be in the form of vehicles, jewelry, or property.
It is crucial to understand the rights and responsibilities of the cosigner. Their responsibilities include:
- Ensuring that you show up for the court sessions
- Ensuring that you do not commit any crimes and you adhere to your release conditions
- Providing proof of their income and residency
- Keeping track of your court proceedings to ensure that you attend the hearings and to know when your case ends
The rights of the cosigner include:
- Putting stipulations to which you must adhere such as participating in drug rehabilitation programs
- Canceling bail if they feel you are likely to miss court. If they cancel bail, you will have to raise the bail amount or collateral yourself, find another cosigner, or go to jail.
What happens to your bail amount?
A clerk or cashier at the courthouse or jail receives bail payments. They have access to information about your name, the bail amount, and booking number. Therefore, ensure that the person paying your bail submits the correct amount. Usually, you can pay in cash, cashier’s check, money order, traveler’s check, or credit card. Payment methods may vary depending on the court.
When you pay, there are two possible outcomes:
- Bail release: If you adhere to your bail conditions, you get your bail money back after the case concludes. The repayment period is usually two to six weeks depending on the area where you paid, and the type of bail you used. If six or more months elapse before the release, contact the court. Provide your name, case number, address, and the date of conclusion. If a bail bonds agent pays your bail, you will get your collateral back after your case concludes.
- Bail forfeiture: Another name for missing a court date is skipping or jumping bail. If you do, the judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest and give you a specific time to either show up or forfeit the bail. If you present yourself in court and have a valid reason for missing the previous hearing, the judge may reinstate your bond. If you do not show up, you forfeit the bail. Your bail bond agent will pay the full amount then recover it from your cosigner.
Types of Bail Bonds
The type of bail bond you choose depends on a range of factors like the type of crime,
your financial status, and the bail amount. You also need to determine whether you have sufficient financial resources to pay for both bail and the significant legal fees you need for your defense. Most people prefer securing a bail bond and using their money on an aggressive defense.
The different categories of bail bonds are:
A citation release is the best bond to get because the arresting officers do not arrest you. Instead, you get a citation with an order to go to court on a specific date. Police officers issue citations at their discretion and for minor offenses. You cannot apply for it in court. If the officer arrests you, you have to post another bail type for your release.
Recognizance is the second easiest type of bail bonds, and the arresting officers can give it at their discretion. You do not need money. Instead, you only promise to attend court proceedings on a given date. You sign the necessary papers, and you get your freedom. Although you do not pay for your release, you will pay a fine if you skip your court appointment. You can also pursue a recognizance release in court, but your lawyer’s fee may be higher than paying a surety bond.
Commonly known as a bail bond, it is the most popular bond. It is especially useful if you cannot afford to pay your bail because you can get it in any amount. You enter into a contract with a bail bond agent and a cosigner, pay a fee, and you are set free. The agreement establishes the conditions of your release and means of ensuring that you appear in court. Often, you will have to provide collateral.
For cash bail, you pay the full amount. You can pay in cash, credit card, traveler’s checks, or cashier’s check. Bail is a high amount and an unexpected expense, which makes it expensive for a majority of people. If you can afford it, the court will release your money after your criminal proceedings conclude, regardless of the ruling. Cash bail presents a certain level of risk because you cannot access your money until 60 to 90 days following the conclusion of your case. Cash bail will soon be invalid because a law enacted in 2018 to abolish it is set to take effect beginning October 2019.
Sometimes, you may provide property instead of cash to secure your freedom. You give your property as a bond, and the court assumes legal claim over that asset. Upon assessment, the property’s value must be twice the value of your bail amount. If you miss a court hearing, you forfeit your bail amount, and the court may foreclose that property to recoup the money.
Federal bail bonds
Securing federal bail bonds becomes necessary when you are facing prosecution for a federal offense. They are costlier than the bail bonds that you post for crimes under trial by California state. Federal bonds and property bonds work similarly. Instead of a bail bonds agent, the court mediates in the transaction. You can either use property or cash to secure your federal bail bond.
As a foreigner facing criminal charges in California, you need to secure an immigration bond. The process is challenging because there is a high possibility that you may never return to the state to answer to your charges. This uncertainty makes immigration bonds a high risk for bail bond agents.
Release From Jail
After you make the payment, the clerk informs the correction officers to start processing your release. Your freedom may be immediate if the clerk’s office is within the jail or if that facility is not busy. Sometimes the process may take hours, especially if it is during a time of unrest, at mealtimes, or a shift change. Your speed of release will also depend on location, facility size, and the number of staff on duty.
Before setting you free, the officers must check your criminal record for outstanding warrants. If none exists, you will leave. Otherwise, you will remain in custody to face charges relating to the order. You will get all your personal property back before you exit. You can call a family member or a friend to pick you up or organize for your transportation.
If the hearing for your case is at a later date, you must appear in court on that date. You must also comply with all other requirements for your release. If you do not, you will attract more charges, and you may go to jail or forfeit your bail amount. Your bail bond contract remains valid for the period that your case is before the court. After sentencing, the bail agreement becomes void. The bail bond agent and the cosigner are not responsible for the completion of your sentence.
Jailhouses Near Thousand Oaks
If the police apprehend you, they may place you in one of the following facilities:
The Thousand Oaks Jail (East County Jail)
Phone: 805- 532-2700.
Consult a Bail Bonds Agent Near Me
If you or a loved one are in police custody, your first call should be to Exit Bail Bonds. We have extensive experience in posting bail for clients in Thousand Oaks. Call us at 951-788-1722, and we will quickly pay your bail and secure your freedom.