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CA Bail Amounts

When a person has been arrested in California, it can help to learn all about the process for getting them released.

Having knowledge makes the entire experience less frightening for everyone involved from the person who was arrested to their loved ones.

What is Bail?

When officials talk about bail, they are referring to the money the defendant or loved one pays to get the arrested person released from jail. A defendant who is released from jail has to return for all court appearances. The bail is used as an incentive to ensure the person returns for those court dates in the future.

Bail might be denied in some cases depending on the details of the crime as well as the person’s history. If they’ve been released on bail and not returned for their court appearances, the judge might not issue a bail amount in the future.

Posting Bail for a Loved One

There are basically three ways that a person can post bail for their arrested loved one.

Cash Bail

When posting a cash bail, the person must have the complete amount ordered by the judge. If the amount is $20,000, the loved one must have that amount in cash for release. It can be in the form of a money order or bank cashier’s check too.

If all court appearances are met, the amount will be refunded within 90 days after resolution of the case. The person might be found innocent or guilty. That won’t have an impact on whether the money is returned.

If the judge, prosecutor or the police believe that the cash was obtained in an illegal manner, they can hold the person in jail while conducting an investigation into the funds. The court can decide not to accept the cash bail.

Bail Bond

Most people don’t have the cash required to post a large bail amount. Instead, they will go to a bail bond agent or bail bondsman who will accept a non-refundable amount in exchange for posting the person’s bail.

For example, the amount of $20,000 would require 10 percent, which would be $2,000 to the bail agent. Once the bail agent is given the 10 percent, the court receives the amount needed to release the individual from jail. Release can take up to four hours.

Property Bond

If the amount of the bail is large enough, the bail agent might require property as collateral. This is done for individuals who might not show up for their court dates.

The issue of collateral will depend on the agent as well as the crimes committed and the bail amount required for release.

How Bail Varies by Crime and Location

The amount of bail decreed by the judge will depend on a variety of factors. Each county in California has its own bail amounts according to the type of crime. In LA county, the bail amounts can vary based on the maximum state prison sentence for the offense.

If the person is facing five years in prison, the bail amount would be $30,000, which would mean 10 percent or $3,000 to the bail agent who gets the person released from jail before trial. Anyone facing a life sentence can see a bail amount of at least one million dollars.

In most cases, the judge will decide bail based on more than the maximum prison time the person is facing. The facts of the case and the person’s history are a deciding factor in the bail amount. Crimes involving violence or the use of a weapon will carry a greater bail amount too.

Cosigner Responsibilities

The person who provides the cash or collateral becomes the cosigner. This individual becomes responsible for ensuring that the defendant appears at all their court hearings.

If the defendant fails to appear in court, the bail agent will attempt to collect the money owed from the defendant. If the agent is unable to do so, he or she will collect from the responsible cosigner.

A bail bond agent can walk a loved one through the process of releasing an individual from jail. Most bail agents are familiar with how confusing and upsetting it is for those who are trying to secure bond for a loved one. They’ll be able to help.

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Bail Bond Rates

In general, the standard industry rate for bail bonds is 10% of the face amount of bail. For example, if the face amount of bail is $10,000, the fee is $1,000. Read More


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