Essential Things to Learn About the Bail System
By Virgis Eva
When the officers arrest an accused and put him in custody, the only way a person can get his freedom is after paying a bond along with assuring his appearance in court. You can either pay in cash or through a surety bond from a bail bonds company. The amount of bond can vary based on the type and intensity of the crime or criminal charges. A magistrate takes everything into account before reducing or increasing the set amount.
In California, every county follows a bail schedule or list that indicates the amount one has to pay to come out of jail after getting arrested for a criminal offense. The list may be different in different Californian counties. Hence, you (or the defendant) or a bail bondsman has to check the bail schedule to estimate the amount.
Factors that can influence bail amount
For minor criminal charges, for example, DUI with no injuries or damages, you may not have to pay any bail for release after booking. However, if the crime for which you faced an arrest is there on the bail schedule, then you would either have to deposit cash or post a bond. Following your bail application, the duty officer may ask a higher amount than the bail schedule. However, it is after the first hearing only that you will come to know about the exact bail amount to pay. If the amount looks unreasonable, your defense lawyer can contend it in court within two days of the arraignment.
Anyway, the bail hearing can result in your release from prison with the lesser or higher bail amount. The judge may also release you without any bail or on your recognizance. Whatever decision a court takes can have several influencing factors:
- The severity of the crime
- Seriousness or extent of the injury
- Threats to the victim
- Use of drugs, weapons, etc.
- Public safety
- Community ties
- Employment status
- Criminal record
- Flight risk
If you are involved in felony affairs, such as kidnapping, rape, or robbery, the judge may not change the bail until some unique circumstances take place. These may include your illness, absence or uncooperative behavior of prosecution witnesses, or you possess huge cash and ticket to some other state or country, etc.
Once you know the amount, you can deposit cash for a quick release. But cash payout is practical only if the amount is between $500 and $1,500. The money is usually refundable if you oblige all the terms and conditions of the court. However, if the amount is higher, then the best way is, post a bond through a licensed bail bonds company, such as Remedy Bail Bonds. The bondsman will submit it to the court to release you from jail. Generally, you have to give collateral to the bail bond agent as a guarantee if the bail amount is expensive.
So, don’t be disappointed if you cannot afford the bail. Contact a trusted bondsman for assistance. He will listen to your plea and be ready to bail you out of the situation.