Most people are not familiar with bail bonds and the California bail bond process. When you take some time to understand the arrest and the bail bond process, it helps alleviate some of the confusion and grief associated with the arrest of your friend or your loved one. For this reason, our Laguna Hills bail bondsmen are always trained to answer any question that you may have.
Bail is a security deposit made on behalf of the arrestee to guarantee that the arrestee appears in court when needed. Depending on the circumstances of a case and the crime charged, the judge may release the arrestee on their own recognizance, meaning that the arrestee is released merely on the promise that they will appear in court when needed. Other options for posting bail include cash bail, bail bond, and property bail. Many people use a bail bond agency to obtain a bail bond instead of posting cash bail under most circumstances. If you need reliable bail bond services in Laguna Hills, Steven Mehr Bail Bonds can assist.
Understanding The California Bail System
Bail is the amount of money the court requires the arrestee to pay before releasing them from jail awaiting trial. After an arrest, an arrestee is considered to be innocent until proven guilty. However, the court can decide to hold the arrestee in custody, awaiting trial. The court considers several relevant facts about the arrestee and the alleged crime while setting the bail money:
The severity of the alleged crime
The arrestee’s previous criminal history
The likelihood that the arrestee will be present for all the court proceedings and trial
Whether the arrestee will pose a risk to public safety, including the victim’s safety and that of their family
The arrestee or their co-signer can use several ways of posting bail:
Paying the full bail money — If you have enough cash to meet the requested bail money, you can post cash bail to the law enforcement agency holding you or the court. Depending on the local rules, you can post a cash bail using cash, a cashier's check, a traveler's check, or a credit card. The arrestee will be freed after posting the full bail money in cash.
Using a bail bondsman — If you cannot afford to post a cash bail, which is the case for most people, you can use a bail bond agency. You will pay a non-refundable premium, usually 10% of the bail money. The bail bond premium is non-refundable. Most people go for this option because it enables them to be released from jail without posting the full bail money.
Own recognizance release — With an own recognizance release, commonly abbreviated as OR release, the arrestee is released from jail without posting a cash bail or a bail bond. Instead, the arrestee makes a written promise that they will appear in court when needed and honor all the court appearances.
Ways Of Reducing The Bail Money
The amount the court sets as bail could mean the difference between freedom and imprisonment as you await trial. Therefore, negotiating for a bail money reduction to the amount possible is a crucial strategy. An arrestee, with the assistance of a criminal defense attorney, can use several techniques to seek a bail reduction:
Attorney Applies For Bail Reduction During The Arraignment
The arraignment is the arrestee’s first appearance in court after an arrest. During the arraignment, the arrestee is informed about all the charges against them before entering a plea. At the arraignment, the arrestee’s attorney can apply for reduced bail or an own recognizance release. While negotiating for a bail reduction, the attorney presents certain evidence and arguments concerning the arrestee, including:
The arrestee’s connections to the community
The arrestee’s criminal history and past court appearances
The severity of the crime or the criminal charges against the arrestee
The attorney will seek to prove that releasing the arrestee will not pose any risk to the community
Bail Reduction Motion
The arrestee’s attorney can file a bail reduction motion if the bail money is set too high. The attorney files a written motion based on constitutional and statutory factors. Both the United States Constitution and the California Constitution prohibit the judge from setting very high bail money. There is no clear definition of what makes bail excessive. However, an experienced attorney can recognize an inflated bail and formulate the ideal persuasive arguments to have the court reduce the bail money.
Bail Reduction Due To Change In Circumstances
The California law allows courts to reduce the bail money in case of a change in circumstances. According to California law PC 1289, the court may reduce the bail money if a good cause is shown. A good cause means a change in circumstances related to the legal proceedings or the arrestee. For instance, your attorney can negotiate for a reduction of bail if they manage to have some of the charges against you dismissed.
Choosing A Legit Laguna Hills bail bond agency
When a loved one is in jail, families experience a lot of stress. Many people are often emotional, embarrassed, anxious to get their loved one out of jail, and worried about their finances. This confusion often leaves many people vulnerable and prone to falling for tricks used by bail bond companies. In a time of despair, you can easily fall victim to fraud and bail bond scams. Knowing what to look for in a bail bond agency will prevent you from falling for fraudulent bail bond schemes. You should be careful if a bail bond agent approaches you with the following deals:
Extremely Low Charges
At first, cheap bail bond services might seem like the best deal, but they are not. Some bail bond companies will offer very low charges, as low as 5% of the bail money. In California, the law requires bail bond companies to charge a bail bond premium of 10% of the bail money. Some Laguna Hills bail bond companies may offer discounts and charge 8% or a minimum of 7%. However, if a company charges too low, for example, 5%, it could be blatantly violating the law or advertising its services deceptively.
If the court sets bail money of $30,000, the bail premium is likely to be 10% of this amount, which is $3000. When you pay the bail bond premium to the agent, the agent promises the court that the arrestee will attend all future court appearances and arranges for their release from prison. The bail bondsman assumes liability for the full amount of the bond and keeps the bail premium as a fee.
If a bail bond agency advertises a bail bond premium rate of 5%, this means that you would pay $1,500 instead of $3,000. This may sound like a fantastic deal over the phone. You may be quick to seize this opportunity to save money. However, you might be surprised to learn later that the bail bond agency takes the 5% as a down payment, and you have to pay the remaining amount with interest.
Many unreliable bail bond companies will advertise low fees as a classic bait and switch. Many people just go ahead and sign the paperwork without realizing that they are falling prey to a bail bond practice that is not just misleading but also illegal. Many reliable bail bond companies in Laguna Hills charge rates of 7 to 10%. Many of these companies offer financing, usually without interest charges, and will arrange the repayment with you beforehand.
A legit bail bond agency will not trick you into going into their office with a false assumption. It is illegal for a bail bond agency to charge lower than what is outlined by the law. Bail bond companies that engage in unlawful practices can have their businesses closed. California often deals with bail bond scandals whereby bail bond companies routinely charge very low premiums. By taking time to understand the traits of legit bail bond companies, you can avoid falling prey to rogue bail bond agents.
Trying To Solicit Business Inside Jail or Court
You should be careful if you realize that a bail bondsman tries to solicit business inside the jail building or the courthouse. It is illegal for bail bond agents to hang around jail premises, offering their bail bond services. Unfortunately, some bail bondsmen ignore this law and solicit business in jail or court. Tension is common among competing bail bond agents or between bail bond companies that follow the rules and those that do not. An even worse practice by some bail bondsmen is paying kickbacks to inmates who refer other arrestees to them. Word of mouth advertising is legal, but giving other inmates kickbacks, usually through reduced fees, is illegal.
Any bail bond agency that gets business using these means is at risk of losing its professional license. Bail bond agents who use illegal means to get business are also at risk of facing felony charges and jail time. If you realize that the people in jail are drumming business for a certain bail bond agent, you are better off staying away from that agent.
Soliciting Business Out Of Jail
Some Laguna Hills bail bondsmen use illegal means to solicit business out of jail. It is against the law to cold call potential bail bond clients and solicit business, but some bail bond companies go ahead and do it. Some agents will go to the extent of obtaining an arrestee's booking information and tracking the arrestee's relatives online.
After identifying a potential relative of the arrestee, the rogue bail bondsman calls to provide services. If you receive a call from a bail bondsman about your loved one in jail, you should find out who contacted the bail bondsman with the request. Be on the lookout if the bail bondsman informs you that they obtained information online or from the police. You should also be cautious if the bail bondsman refuses to disclose the person who initially contacted them.
Simply, a client should contact a bail bond agency to seek bail bond services and not the other way round. It is illegal for a bail bond agent to call you and offer unrequested services. If an arrestee contacts a bail bondsman first, the bail bondsman can go ahead and contact the arrestee’s relatives. However, an agent will be acting illegally if they call you and the person in jail did not call them first. You should avoid dealing with such a person because they might not even be an actual bail bondsman.
Other Bail Bond Scams
Other bail bond scams include visiting the elderly, telling them that their loved ones are in jail. The rogue bail bondsman takes money from these unsuspecting people and takes off. Some rogue agents go to the extent of standing outside bail bond companies' offices and intercepting clients, telling them that the bail bond office is closed. These agents then offer to write the bail bond and demand the entire premium in cash before disappearing with the money.
Most bail bond scams tap into the misconception that many people view the bail bond industry as an unethical and shady business. Rogue bail bond agents indeed exist in Laguna Hills. However, the good news is that there are thousands of honest bail bondsmen. Everyone loves a bargain; however, if bail bond agents offer an arrangement that is so different from other bail bond companies, you should ask yourself why.
Licensed and responsible bail bond companies work within the system and comply with the applicable rules. You can count on these companies to treat you fairly. However, if a bail bond agency does not follow the law and respect the system, you should not trust them to treat clients with respect and consideration.
Why Steven Mehr Bail Bonds Is The Right Choice
If you seek a reliable Laguna Hills bail bond agency, you can count on Steven Mehr Bail Bonds. Here’s are some of our best traits:
All our bail bondsmen are licensed and professional
We have friendly and responsive bail bondsmen to guide you through the bail bond process
We provide 24/7 bail bond services
We have flexible repayment methods
We provide prompt, no-collateral bail bonds.
Laguna Hills Bail Bonds Jail and Court Information
Laguna Hills Superior Court
Orange County Jail (Central Jail Complex)
Phone: (714) 647-4666
Find A Laguna Hills Bail Bondsman Near Me
After an arrest of your loved one, you will be desperate to get them out of jail. However, you should not settle for the first bail bond agency you come across. It is advisable to ensure that you choose carefully to avoid falling prey to rogue bail bond agents. If you need a reliable bail bond agent in Laguna Hills, we welcome you to contact Steven Mehr Bail Bonds. Call us at 800-834-8522 and talk to a bail bond agent.