Legal Dictionary

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Exoneration Of Bail

Termination of the obligation of bail has become known as “exoneration.” Once the criminal case is resolved (criminal proceedings terminated or the surrender of the defendant into custody), the depositor or surety is relieved of their obligation and is entitled to return of the deposit. If the defendant is the depositor of the bail and suffers a judgment that includes a fine, the bail may be applied toward payment of the fine. Penal Code Section 1297.

Exoneration of bail occurs under the following additional situations:

  • The defendant is found mentally incompetent to stand trial.
  • The case is dismissed following a successful notion to suppress evidence. Penal Code 1538.5(k) & Penal Code 1538.5 (l).
  • The case is dismissed in the interests of justice. Penal Code 1384, 1385, & 1188.
  • A demurrer is sustained. Penal Code Section 1008.
  • A surrender of the defendant by the surety (bail bondsman). Penal Code 1300.
  • A defendant personally surrenders to the court. Penal Code 1300, 1302.
  • A court order issues directing defendant into a drug diversion program. Penal Code 1000.2.
  • The criminal case is dismissed after a motion is granted to set aside the indictment or information. Penal Code 995 & 997.
  • The defendant is acquitted after trial. Penal Code 1195.

The bail bond process in California is a serious and tricky procedure. It is also expensive. Consult with an experienced California criminal defense lawyer before bailing someone out of jail.