Frequently asked bail bonds questions
Bail bond for California counties and cities
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How does bail work?
When an individual is arrested for a crime in the State of California, typically that person will be taken to a local law enforcement station for booking, prior to incarceration in a station lock-up or county jail. Once arrested and booked, the defendant has several options for release pending the conclusion of his or her case. Bail is designed to guarantee the appearance of a defendant in court at the time the judge directs.
What are the release options if someone is arrested?
There are five basic release options available. The five options are:
Cash bail means a person must give the court or jail the total amount of the bail in cash. The cash will be held by the court until the defendant appears to all of his/her court cases and the case is concluded. Full cash bonds provide a powerful incentive for the defendant to appear in court. If the defendant appears for all of his/her scheduled court appearances, the cash bail should be returned in full.
An alternative to cash bail is a surety bond. This process involves a contractual undertaking guaranteed by an admitted insurance company having adequate assets to satisfy the face value of the bond. The bail agent guarantees to the court that they will pay the bond forfeiture if a defendant fails to appear for their scheduled court appearances. The bail agents guarantee is made through a surety company and/or by pledging property owned by the bail agent.
For this service, the defendant is charged a premium (typically 10% of the bail amount in California). For example, if the bail amount in $10,000.00, the premium charged is $1,000.00. Prior to the posting of the surety bond, the defendant, friend or relative must contact a licensed bail agent. You can contact us toll-free at 1-800-547-2188. Once a bail agent is contacted, an interview or appointment will be immediately scheduled.By involving the family and friends of a defendant, as well as through the acceptance of collateral, the bail agent can be reasonably assured that the defendant released on a surety bond will appear to all of his/her court appearances.
After this procedure is completed, the bail agent will post a bond for the full bail amount, financially guaranteeing the defendants return to court as scheduled.
With money on the line, the bail agent has a financial interest in supervising bailees, and ensuring that they appear in court each end every time the court orders them to appear. If the defendant does not appear in court (skips), the bail agent has time and the financial incentive to find the defendant and bring him/her to court.
In rare cases an individual may be released by posting a property bond with the court. With a property bond, the court records a lien on the property to secure the bail amount. If the defendant fails to appear in court as scheduled, the court may foreclose on the property to obtain the forfeited bail amount.
Release on Own Recognizance (O.R.)
Another method of release, pending trial, is through a county or law enforcement administered pre-trial release program. Usually, the employees of these programs interview defendants in custody and make recommendations to the court regarding the release of these individuals on their own recognizance (i.e., without any financial security to insure the defendants return).
The interview process is often conducted over the telephone, usually with little inquiry into the defendants background. The interview process attempts to determine whether the detainee is likely to appear in court. There is usually no verification of information provided by the defendant. Since no money, property or bond is posted to secure the defendants appearance in court, he/she faces no personal economic hardship from the conscious decision not to appear in court.
Release on Citation (Cite Out)
This procedure involves the issuance of a citation by the arresting officer to the arrestee, informing the arrestee that he/she must appear in court at an appointed court date.
The "Cite Out" usually occurs immediately after an individual is arrested. As a consequence of the failure to follow complete booking procedures, the true identity and background of most individuals released on citation is never established. This results in the release of numerous arrestees who may have outstanding bench warrants pending or who may present a significant danger to society.
Accordingly, in those cases involving "Cite Outs", the arrestee may never be placed in custody. Like the Own Recognizance (O.R.) release, the defendants appearance in court depends exclusively on the integrity of the defendant voluntarily returning to court as ordered by the court.
How much does a bail bond (surety bond) cost?
In California, the bail premium (fee) is typically 10% of the full bail amount. For example, if the bail amount is $10,000.00, the premium charged is $1,000.00.
How much of the premium will I get back?
Typically the 10% premium is fully earned once the bail bond is posted with a jail or court. That is how bail agents and their surety companies make their money and pay their bills.
What is collateral?
Collateral is anything of value used to financially secure a bail bond.
What can be used as collateral?
Some examples of collateral include houses, cars, boats, jewelry, electronic equipment (you get the idea).
When will collateral be returned?
Collateral is usually returned when the court finishes with the defendants case(s), exonerating the bail bond(s), and when all fees have been paid.
How long does it take to get released from jail?
There are two types of jails. There are city jails operated by city police departments and there are county jails operated by the county sheriff. After a defendant is booked into a city jail (i.e.: fingerprinted, photographed, warrants checked, etc.), it typically takes anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour to be released on bail. After a defendant is booked into a county jail, it usually takes anywhere from 2 to 8 hours and up to 24 hours to be released on bail. We wish we could speed up the process but the city and county jails operate at their own pace. Intrastate's Bail Bonds does everything possible to expedite the bail release. Let us assure you we will be by your side every step of the way.