Bail Bonds Explained

In the United States people who have been arrested are deemed to be “innocent until proven guilty”. In California, people who have been arrested and who have not been charged with a capital offense (a crime punishable by death) are legally entitled to bail. If someone you know has been arrested and you want to help bail them out of jail, there are several ways you can proceed.

Posting Bail

Bail can be posted in the following ways:

  • Cash bail: This entails taking the full amount of a defendant’s set bail to the jail, in cash. This money is refundable to the person who posted it, less administrative fees, at the conclusion of the defendant’s case. The return of cash bail is not immediate though, and can oftentimes take a number of months. If the defendant decides to willfully “skip bail”, however, the money posted as cash bail is considered forfeited.
  • Bail bond: If you choose to hire an expert bail bondsman, the bondsman will post a piece of paper at the jail, called a bail bond, which promises the defendant will appear back in court when required. The cost to purchase California bail bonds is 10% of the total amount of a defendant’s bail. This is a non-refundable fee that is paid to the bondsman for the service they provide. As long as the defendant returns to court when required in order to handle their case, you will not be required to pay any additional fees.
  • Property Bond: If you own a piece of property that has equity equal to twice the amount of the defendant’s bail amount you may be eligible to put up your property in lieu of cash bail or bail bond. The deed will be returned at the conclusion of the defendant’s case. As with cash bail, if the defendant decides to skip out on their court obligations, the property will be considered forfeited. Because property bonds must include an application, a notarized promissory note, a notarized Deed of Trust, current appraisal and a number of additional supporting documents, the process of having one posted can take quite a bit of time.

Choosing to Work with a Bondsman

Most people find that working with a company that specializes in California bail bonds provides the fastest and simplest solution. Bail agents are highly skilled in their field and are familiar with what needs to be done in order to get people released from jail fast.

Many companies operate 24-7 and some even allow you to fill out your bail bonds application paperwork via email. Before selecting which bail bonds company to work with you’ll want to ask them a few questions. Ask if they have a current California license to sell and negotiate bail. Ask how long they have been in business, and whether they are accredited through the Better Business Bureau. You’ll also want to make sure the person you are speaking with treats you with dignity, respect and will handle your matter with the strictest confidentiality.

To speak with a bail bondsman now, call 1-877-861-3761 (1-877-861-3761).


 More California Bail Bonds Resources

Updated:  02/27/2012