Bail Bonds FAQ
Most of the people who call our office have never needed to bail someone out of jail before. If you have recently found yourself in a position where you have been asked to help a friend or family member be released from custody it is natural for you to have a lot of questions.
What Is Bail?
Bail is a monetary amount that is set by the court. When someone is arrested and charged with a crime that crime will be cross-referenced against something called the county bail schedule. The bail schedule is set annually by a panel of Superior Court judges and it assigns different bail amounts for different crimes. The more serious the offense, the higher the bail amount will be.
How Do You Post Bail?
Bail can be posted in a number of ways. The first involves taking the full bail amount, in cash or via cashier’s check, down to the jail. This is called cash bail. A second option would be to post the deed of trust to a property that has two times the value of the bail amount with the jail. This is called a property bond. Property bonds can take weeks to put together because the home will need to be appraised, inspected, and checked for liens.
In the cases of cash bail and property bonds, as long as the defendant makes all their necessary court dates the cash or deed will be returned to the person who posted it at the conclusion of the case. This process is not quick and can take several months. That being taken into consideration, most people choose to move forward with a third option: buying a bail bond.
What Is A Bail Bond?
A bail bond is a piece of paper that is posted at the jail that promises the defendant will come back and go to court when required. It also promises that if the defendant decides to flee, that the bondsman and the person who co-signed the bail bonds contract will pay the full bail amount to the court as a penalty.
How Much Do Bail Bonds Cost?
In California most bonds are transacted at 10%. This means that if a person’s bail has been set at $20,000 you can expect to pay $2,000 to a bondsman to post a bond.
Will I Get That Money Back?
No. The premium that you pay to the bondsman is a fee for their service and it is not refundable.
Can I Get A Better Rate?
No. The California Department of Insurance regulates the bail industry and they set the rate at which bail bonds companies are allowed to charge their clients. It is illegal to charge more than or less than the legal rate.
Do I Need Collateral?
Not always. Some companies always require their clients post collateral whereas some may only require it under certain circumstances. Be sure to ask your bail bondsman if they offer no collateral bail bonds.
Do I Need To Pay For A Bail Bond Upfront?
Not necessarily. Many companies offer their clients the bail bonds financing. Some offer zero-percent bail bonds financing whereas others charge a processing fee. Be sure to ask lots of questions before signing on the dotted line.
Can I Bail Someone On A Weekend Or Holiday?
You can absolutely bail someone out on a weekend or holiday. Many bail bonds companies offer their clients 24-7 bail service, which means that holidays, nights and weekends are included.