Do You Need to Post Bail in Los Angeles?

Why You Would Need to Post Bail

If someone has been arrested in California, they can be held in jail until they are cited out—which means being released on their own recognizance or by posting bail. Bail is cash or its equivalent (real estate) that the court accepts in exchange for letting a defendant stay out of jail until the criminal case is concluded. The purpose of bail is to ensure the defendant makes all his or her required court appearances. The amount of bail you will have to post is set according to a countywide bail schedule.

There are three ways you can post bail in Los Angeles:

  • Pay the entire amount in cash or a check
  • Pledge real or personal property
  • Use a bail bondsman.

Our Los Angeles criminal lawyers can guide you through the bail process, represent you at a bail hearing, or fight to have you (or the defendant) released without posting bail.

Should I hire a bail bond company?

A bail bond is a document (or contract), executed by a surety (guarantor), which is a promise to pay the face amount of the bond equivalent to the sum set as bail, unless the defendant fulfills the conditions of the bond. The surety guarantees a defendant's appearance at the risk of forfeiting the bond amount. In other words, when a bail bond is posted, the defendant is released from jail. If the defendant does not appear in court or flees, the bail bond company is obligated pay the court the entire bail amount.

Bail bond companies usually charge a non-refundable premium of 7% to 10% of the designated bail to post a bond with the court. For example, if the judge sets bail at $20,000, the bail bondsman will charge you $1,400 or $2,000 to post bail.

This percentage is the bond seller's fee for taking the risk that you won't appear in court. Although bail bonds may seem like a good idea, buying one can cost more in the long run. For example, even if your case is dismissed, the fee paid to the bail bondsman is non-refundable. In some cases, a bail bond may only be valid for a limited time. If the criminal case extends beyond this time, the defendant may have to pay an additional fee. Consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney before posting a bond.

Co-Signing on a Bail Bond

Los Angeles bail bond companies generally require a "co-signer" for a bond (i.e. a family member, friend, or someone with excellent credit). Depending how serious the charges are, the bail bond company may also require a co-signer to pledge collateral (cash, a deed, or other valuable property). Sometimes, the bail bondsman records a lien on the co-signers property in order to secure the bail. If you fail to appear, the bail bondsman will collect the bond amount from your co-signer to pay off the court. If the co-signer doesn't have the amount, the bail bond company goes after the collateral.

The Right Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

If someone you know has been arrested, getting them released is a priority. In California, the process of getting a person released on bail varies from county to county. Our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers know about these variations and can get results quickly and efficiently. Turn to a bail bondsman only as a last resort.

Bail bondsmen are not lawyers. They cannot represent you in court.

Their primary concern is to make money by bailing you out. They are generally not familiar with the facts of your case or the procedures or the judges in the local criminal court system. With Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners, you will have the assistance of experienced defense attorneys who can help you in the following ways:

Obtaining an OR Release: At the first court hearing, which is usually within 48 hours of the arrest, we can argue to the judge that you are a good candidate for OR release because you can be trusted to appear in court, because of your lack or minimal criminal record, your employment and your roots in the community. If you are released OR, you will not have to post bail or purchase a bond.

Obtaining a Bail Reduction: If the arresting agency sets a high bail, then we can argue for a lower amount. The court may reduce bail on a good cause showing. In determining whether to reduce bail, public safety is the court's primary consideration but it will also consider the seriousness of your offense, your criminal record and the probability that you will appear at trial.

    Referring You to the Right Bail Bondsman: Usually, a bail bondsman will charge you a 10% premium for putting up the bond. There are certain bail bonds agencies that we can recommend that will charge you 8% rather than the traditional 10%, essentially saving you what it will cost to hire an attorney.

      Working Around an INS Hold: In some cases, there may be an immigration hold (while in jail) placed on the defendant. If you are dealing with an immigration issue, this is something that we can assist you with.

        Keeping the Bail from Increasing: In some situations, a court may raise a defendant's bail at the first court appearance on a good cause showing. The court may even order that the defendant be committed to custody unless the increased amount is paid. We can usually prevent this from occurring.

        Our Firm Can Help You Get Out of Jail

        There are many aspects to the bail process. At Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners, our experienced criminal defense attorneys know what options are available depending on our client's circumstances. We regularly secure our client's release without posting bail, which in some cases saves the client a lot of money. We have handled many criminal cases in Los Angeles and the surrounding Southern California counties.

        We understand the bail process and know how to work with judges, prosecutors, court personnel and bail bond companies to get our clients released from jail as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. Contact us first; we will determine if it is necessary for you to go to a bail bondsman. If it is, we will refer you to a bail bond company that we trust to treat you and your case with the professionalism our firm demands.

        Call Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners to speak to a qualified and experienced criminal defense lawyer. During a free consultation, we can answer your questions about bail bonds and provide the legal assistance that you will need. We are conveniently located downtown and only five minutes from the Los Angeles County jail. When you contact our office, we can put our over 70 years of combined legal experience to work for you immediately.

        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.