Posting Bail in Los Angeles

What is Bail

Bail is the money or other property pledged to a court by or on behalf of a person accused of a crime (defendant) in order to be released from jail while he or she awaits trial. Bail assures the court that the defendant will make all court appearances.

Setting Bail

Judges generally set bail at the first court appearance - referred to as the arraignment. They have a lot of power in setting bail. They can deviate from the standard bail and increase or reduce the bail; cancel the bail and allow the defendant to be released without posting bail (commonly referred to as OR or Own Recognizance release); or oppose and deny bail completely.

Judges consider a several factors in setting bail:

  • the seriousness of the crime;
  • the county-wide bail schedule;
  • the criminal history of the defendant including convictions, warrants and FTA's (Failures to Appear);
  • the potential for flight risk and the ties to the community- (those with strong ties to the community are less likely to flee);
  • the immigration status of the defendant- an undocumented immigrant facing a serious felony is more likely to flee than a documented immigrant or citizen;
  • whether the defendant is currently employed.

Posting Bail

There are three methods of posting bail in Los Angeles:

  • Cash Bail - In order to bail a defendant out of jail a person or persons must come up with cash or a cashier's check for the entire bail amount. This amount is posted with the local jail or the court. Most cash bails vary from $5,000 to $100,000 making it difficult for most people to come up with that amount of cash. The cash bail amount posted will be returned to the person posting the bail at the end of the criminal case if the defendant attends all the required court appearances. It takes approximately three months to receive the cash bail back from the jail or the court. If the defendant fails to complete all of his or her court appearances the bail will be forfeited. The court will allow 180 days for the defendant to return to court or be brought to court by law enforcement personnel. If the 180 days deadline is not met then the entire bail amount is forfeited to the court.
  • Bail Bond – Most people do not have the cash funds required to post the cash bail and so they turn to a Bail Bondsman. A Bail Bondsman is the representative for the bail company that will put up the required bail in order to have the defendant released from jail. The bail company will have the defendant or his / her representative (family, friend or spouse) sign a contract with the bail company wherein the defendant will pay a premium (in Los Angeles from 7% to 8 %) based on the total bail in exchange for the bail company posting the bail with the court. Example: bail for domestic violence cases is $50,000. The defendant or his representatives will pay a premium of between $3500 to $5000 to the bail company for posting the entire $50,000 bail to the court. The premium is not refundable. If the defendant flees the jurisdiction the bail company will either find the defendant and bring him/her to court or pay the court the $50,000. The bail company will then sue the defendant's representatives for the $50,000.
  • Property Bond – While this type of bond is available it is rarely used. When you post a property bond you are posting the equity value of your home. The equity value must be at least twice the required bail. Example: If the required bail is $75,000 then the equity or value of the house must be at least $150,000. The equity value is the current fair market value (recent appraisal) of the house less the mortgage owed on the home.

We Are There To Help You Get Out Of Jail

We help clients get out of jail fast. We are familiar with the options available to defendants facing many different circumstances. Often, we help secure our clients’ release from jail without posting bail, saving them a significant amount of money. The reason for our success? We understand how to work with bail bond companies, prosecutors, judges, and court personnel in order get our clients out of jail as cost-effectively and quickly as possible. Before you contact a bail bondsman, consult with our firm first to learn your options.

You need the assistance of the experienced criminal attorneys at Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners. We have successfully represented many of our clients by reducing the bail or by having our clients released on their Own Recognizance, without posting a penny for their bail. Call us to schedule a no-cost consultation in our office and learn what legal options are available to you.

Contact a Los Angeles criminal attorney if you need to post bail or are facing a bail hearing. Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners knows how to fight for you.