Bail is an amount you must deposit with the court in exchange for your release from jail before your criminal case is resolved. The judge sets bail for a defendant during the initial hearing in court, and the bail amounts could range from hundreds to tens of thousands. It is not often sensible for an individual to pay bail, which means you could sit in jail until the court concludes your case.
When you sit in jail, you could lose your job and miss out on your family life. If you find yourself in this predicament, you may need a bail bonds company’s help. At Steven Mehr Bail Bonds, our goal is to lessen your stress by guiding you through the bail process and securing your release.
Also, we are willing to work with you and ensure that the fee for the bail bonds services fits your budget. Even when you do not have the total amount to pay bail bond premium, our Hollywood Bail bonds agents will develop a payment plan to ensure your loved one comes home as soon as possible.
Overview of Bail in California
Bail is the money the court requires you to post to assure them of your return for trial after a release with a pending case. Sometimes, the judge may release a defendant without bail, commonly referred to as own recognizance. An OR release is often available for defendants facing minor charges and those that are first-time offenders. However, in most cases, the court will require you to pay bail in exchange for your release or that of a loved one.
Bail amounts vary depending on the nature of your crimes and other factors present in your case. After an arrest and booking, the court presents you before the judge, determining the bail you must pay. Whether you are released on recognizance, or you post bail, the court will require you to follow these requirements as a condition of staying out of jail with a pending case:
Regular check-ins with the court or a designated agency.
The court could impose travel restrictions to reduce the chances of fleeing. The judge may order you to surrender your travel documents to the court to enforce the travel restrictions.
When you face charges for violent or domestic violence-related crimes, the judge can issue a prospective order requiring you to have no contact with the alleged victims of your actions.
Order to surrender your firearms.
Random drug and alcohol testing. This restriction often applies to individuals who face charges for drug-related crimes, including DUI.
Home relocation while the case pends.
Once the judge sets your bail, you can pay it in the following ways to secure your release from jail:
Payment in Cash
Paying bail in cash is the easiest and fastest way to get out of jail while your criminal proceedings are pending. Before you are released on cash bail, you must deposit the entire bail amount with the court. Depending on the court’s policies, you may be allowed to pay your bail in cash, travelers check, or money order. When you attend your court hearings as scheduled by the court, you will receive the total amount you deposited as bail. However, failure to follow court orders may result in bail forfeiture and loss of your money.
Although paying cash bail is an easier way out, it may open doors to financial investigations. If the judge, police, or prosecutor believes that you criminally obtain the bail amount, the court may delay your release to investigate the source of your funds. You are considered to have obtained money feloniously if you engaged in an unlawful transaction or act.
The purpose of posting bail is to ensure that you obey all court orders, including your appearance for subsequent court dates. The court assumes that you may easily skip bail and leave the money behind if you obtain the funds feloniously. In such a case, you have the burden to prove that you obtained the bail money legally so that the court can accept the bail and release you from custody.
If you want to avoid all the hassle brought about by suspicious bail, you may opt to use other means like bail bonds even when you are financially capable of paying a cash bail.
Payment Using Property
Money to pay bail for a loved one is not always something that someone has stashed away somewhere. Since arrests are often random and unexpected, many people lack the money for bail. Fortunately, lack of money to post a cash bail should not be the reason for your loved one to rot in jail. If you have sufficient equity in real property, you can offer the property to the court in exchange for a release.
Before the court allows you to use the property as collateral, you must establish property ownership. In California, you may need to attend another hearing where the court ascertains your equity to the particular property you want to use. In cases where multiple people own a property, all the owners may be required to appear for the hearing. Also, the value of the property you use as bail must be at least twice the bail amount before acceptance by the court.
Payment by Bail Bonds
Bail bonds work by allowing you to post bail that you cannot afford. You can contact a bail bond company when you find out that your loved one is in jail. The company, in return, sends an agent to guide you through the bail process. A Hollywood bail bond agent will post your bail in full to ensure an early release. The bail bond is a court payment that the bond agency makes. In exchange for their services, the bail bond company will charge you a fee that is often 10% of the amount they post with the court.
If you lack the financial capacity to pay for a bail bond, you can present collateral often in the form of real estate properties, vehicles, or other valuable items. Also, you can use a cosigner who will shoulder the financial responsibility of paying your premium. If you follow all court orders and appear for trial and other proceedings, the court will release the bail money to the bail bond company. In return, the company will release your collateral.
However, failure to show up for court dates or violation of the bail requirements may cause the court to forfeit your bail. If a Hollywood Bail bonds agent loses their money to bail forfeiture, they may seize your collateral to recover what they lost. Using bail bonds to secure a defendant's release from jail may be the most convenient method to post bail because:
Bail bonds are affordable. If every defendant were required to post cash bail, many people would be stuck in jail due to a lack of financial capacity to pay the entire bail amount. You will be liable for only 10% of the total amount when you opt for bail bonds, which is easier to raise.
Ensures financial privacy. Paying bail in cash may be suspicious even when the crimes you are accused of are not financial. California often wants to ensure that the money you used to pay bail was obtained legitimately. You avoid financial scrutiny and keep your financial life private by seeking bail bonds.
You receive expert guidance. In addition to providing the finances you need to post bail, a Hollywood bail bonds agent will offer you expert guidance to make the bail process easier. Bail bonds agents are conversant with the local courts and jails and can use this knowledge to speed up your release from jail.
You keep your assets safe. When you lack enough money for bail, you could be tempted to liquidate your assets to come up with the required amount. When you sell your assets in a hurry to raise bail money, you could end up selling the property at a price lower than its value. Bail bonds protect you from asset liquidation.
Instead of paying cash bail, using property, or seeking bail bonds, you can deposit California government bonds having a combined face value amounting to the total bail. However, it is essential to understand that the court does not accept government bonds when their market value is lower than the face value.
Ways to Reduce your Bail
The amount set by the court as your bail may make the difference between you spending time behind bars and freedom as you wait for trial. As a result, seeking to reduce your bail is essential. Some of the ways through which you can seek a bail reduction include:
Application for a Reduction at Arraignment
The arraignment is your first court appearance where the judge informs you of your charges, and you are allowed to enter a plea. Your attorney can help you apply for OR release or a reduction of your bail. Some of the factors that the judge may consider when determining your eligibility for bail reduction include:
Record of your previous court appearances.
The severity of the alleged crimes.
Effect of your release on the safety of other members of the community.
Bail Reduction Motion
When your bail is too high, you can file a motion to have it reduced. The motion to reduce your bail could be based on constitutional factors. Additionally, the California constitution prohibits excessive bails. There is no specific rule that makes bail excessive. Therefore, you must formulate persuasive arguments for consideration on the matter.
Motion Following Change in your Circumstances
California law allows the courts to reduce your bail amount based on the change of your circumstances. However, a good cause belief does not mean that one judge disagrees with the other judge’s decision.
Bail Denial in California
The California Constitution guarantees criminal defendants a right to post bail and secure a release before trial. However, some circumstances could prompt a bail denial, including:
Capital crimes. If you face charges for a severe crime whose potential punishment is life imprisonment or a death sentence, the judge will likely deny you bail. A person facing a crime punishable by capital punishment may not have anything to lose when they flee and skip bail.
Violent felonies and felony sexual assault. If you face charges for sexual assault or other violent felonies and the evidence against you is convincing, the court can deny your bail.
Immigration holds. In California, bail is unavailable if the federal government puts an immigration hold on you illegally in the United States.
If you or a loved one faces an arrest in Hollywood, CA, you may be detained in any of the following jails:
Los Angeles Police Department – Hollywood Station
Twin Towers Correctional Facility
Courts around Hollywood, CA, include:
LA County Superior Court
Los Angeles Superior Court
Find a Bail Bonds Company Near Me
Finding a loved one or friend in jail could be a scary experience. It is even more frightening when you face an arrest and are sitting behind bars, not knowing your fate. Luckily, there is a way to secure a release before your case ends or the judge pronounces a verdict.
By posting bail, you or your loved one can go home and move on with life while the criminal proceedings are pending. Depending on the circumstances around your case, your bail can be too expensive to raise on short notice.
However, other options like seeking bail bonds can help you raise the bail amount. When you contact a bail bond company, they assess your situation and help post your bail at a small fee. At Steven Mehr Bail Bonds, we understand the frustration of sitting behind bars awaiting court proceedings. That’s why we work hard to ensure you are released as soon as possible.
If you seek bail bonds services, our Hollywood Bail Bonds agents will go out of their way to ensure that you spend as little time as possible behind bars. Contact us today at 800-834-8522 to discuss more details of your situation.