When an individual is arrested for a crime in the State of California, typically
that person will be taken to a local law enforcement station for booking, prior to
incarceration in a station lock-up or county jail. Once arrested and booked, the defendant
has several options for release pending the conclusion of his or her case. Bail is
designed to guarantee the appearance of a defendant in court at the time the judge
Cash Bail- Cash bail means a person must give the court or jail the total amount of the bail
in cash. The cash will be held by the court until the defendant appears to all of his/her
court cases and the case is concluded. Full cash bonds provide a powerful incentive for
the defendant to appear in court. If the defendant appears for all of his/her scheduled
court appearances, the cash bail should be returned in full.
Surety Bond-An alternative to cash bail is a surety bond. This process involves a contractual
undertaking guaranteed by an admitted insurance company having adequate assets to satisfy
the face value of the bond. The bail agent guarantees to the court that they will pay the
bond forfeiture if a defendant fails to appear for their scheduled court appearances. The
bail agents guarantee is made through a surety company and/or by pledging property
owned by the bail agent.
For this service, the defendant is charged a premium (typically
10% of the bail amount in California). For example, if the bail amount in $10,000.00, the
premium charged is $1,000.00. Prior to the posting of the surety bond, the defendant,
friend or relative must contact a licensed bail agent. We can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-957-2245. Once a bail agent is
contacted, an interview or appointment will be immediately scheduled.
By involving the family and friends of a
defendant, as well as through the acceptance of collateral, the bail agent can be
reasonably assured that the defendant released on a surety bond will appear to all of
his/her court appearances.
After this procedure is completed, the bail agent will post a bond for the full bail
amount, financially guaranteeing the defendants return to court as scheduled.
With money on the line, the bail agent has a financial interest in supervising bailees,
and ensuring that they appear in court each end every time the court orders them to
appear. If the defendant does not appear in court (skips), the bail agent has time and the
financial incentive to find the defendant and bring him/her to court.
Property Bond- In rare cases an individual may be released by posting a property bond with the
court. With a property bond, the court records a lien on the property to secure the bail
amount. If the defendant fails to appear in court as scheduled, the court may foreclose on
the property to obtain the forfeited bail amount.
on Own Recognizance (O.R.)- Another method of release,
pending trial, is through a county or law enforcement administered pre-trial release
program. Usually, the employees of these programs interview defendants in custody and make
recommendations to the court regarding the release of these individuals on their own
recognizance (i.e., without any financial security to insure the defendants return).
interview process is often conducted over the telephone, usually with little inquiry into
the defendants background. The interview process attempts to determine whether the
detainee is likely to appear in court. There is usually no verification of information
provided by the defendant. Since no money, property or bond is posted to secure the
defendants appearance in court, he/she faces no personal economic hardship from the
conscious decision not to appear in court.
on Citation (Cite Out)- This procedure involves the issuance
of a citation by the arresting officer to the arrestee, informing the arrestee that he/she
must appear in court at an appointed court date.
The "Cite Out" usually occurs
immediately after an individual is arrested. As a consequence of the failure to follow
complete booking procedures, the true identity and background of most individuals released
on citation is never established. This results in the release of numerous arrestees who
may have outstanding bench warrants pending or who may present a significant danger to
Accordingly, in those cases involving "Cite Outs", the arrestee may never be
placed in custody. Like the Own Recognizance (O.R.) release, the defendants
appearance in court depends exclusively on the integrity of the defendant voluntarily
returning to court as ordered
There are two types of jails. There
are city jails operated by city police departments and there are county jails operated by
the county sheriff. After a defendant is booked into a city jail (i.e.: fingerprinted,
photographed, warrants checked, etc.), it typically takes anywhere from 15 minutes to 1
hour to be released on bail. After a defendant is booked into a county jail, it usually
takes anywhere from 2 to 8 hours and up to 24 hours to be released on bail. We wish we
could speed up the process but the city and county jails operate at their own pace.
We do everything possible to expedite the bail release. Let us assure
you we will be by your side every step of the way.