The California criminal court system allows bail to be posted, in certain circumstances, if you or a loved one has been arrested and put in jail. Throughout Fresno, especially Downtown, you’ve likely seen bail bonds companies but understanding the process of posting bail may be new to you. Posting bail can help expedite the release process and having an understanding of it can make the situation a little less scary.
What is bail?
Bail refers to the money that you must post with the court in order to be released from jail. Posting bail allows the court to ensure that you will attend your future court appearances as scheduled. It is important to understand that not all crimes will have the opportunity for bail. If the court allows bail the amount will be determined based on the circumstances of the crime and the county in California in which the crime took place. All counties in California have their own bail schedules that set the amount of bail for each type of crime.
Ultimately it is the judge who will be responsible for setting your bail. A judge will consider factors such as:
- Criminal History
- Flight risk (your likelihood to flee)
- Facts of the case
California criminal law allows the judge to deviate from the bail schedule based on these factors. Depending on the outcome, bail can place a significant financial burden on those who post it.
Bail may not always be necessary, either. In some instances the judge will release you on your own recognizance (O.R. release). An O.R. release means that the judge is releasing you without bail based on the promise that you will attend your future court appearances as they are scheduled.
If you are in a situation where posting bail is necessary, there are three methods of posting bail:
- Cash bail
- Bail bond
- Property bond
Bail bonds are typically the most common way to post bail. Property bonds, on the other hand, are rarely utilized. Property bonds allow the court to place a lien on your property. If you fail to appear in court as scheduled the court has the authorization to institute foreclosure proceedings against you.
Cosigners may take responsibility for posting bail; however, this makes the cosigner responsible for ensuring that the defendant appears in court as scheduled. If the defendant fails to appear in court the bail bondsman will attempt to find and collect from the defendant first. If, however, the defendant cannot be found the cosigner is responsible for repaying the bondsman.
Failure to appear in court
After you have posted bail if you fail to appear in court as scheduled the judge forfeits your bail and may issue a California bench warrant for your arrest. If you posted bail in cash the amount will not be returned to you. If you went through a bail bond company, they will attempt to seek reimbursement from you, and then from the cosigner responsible for posting bail.
If you have further questions about California’s bail laws or would like to confidentially discuss the details of your case do not hesitate to get in touch with us at The Law Office of Gregory W. Fox. In most instances an appointment can be scheduled for the same business day. Call today, 559-222-5800.