How to Bail an Inmate Out of Jail
Was Your Loved One Arrested?
You may obtain information about a person who has been arrested and taken
to jail by calling the Los Angeles County Inmate Answering Service at
213-473-6100 at anytime. To get information about an inmate online, you can also visit
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Inmate Information Center.
How to Bail an Inmate Out of Jail
Someone committing a crime can be arrested and taken to the Police Department
to be booked (photographed and fingerprinted) and put in jail temporarily.
It is possible for a defendant to be "cited out" and released
from the jail after the booking process. Being "cited out" means
you are given a written notice to appear in court at a future date. The
defendant signs the promise to appear in court and is then given a copy
This process may take several hours to complete depending on the number
of other defendants to be booked that day or night. These citations are
common in cases involving Driving under the Influence (DUI), drunk in
public, shoplifting, and minor misdemeanor cases. When a citation is involved,
the defendant does not need to post bail.
If a defendant was arrested for a serious misdemeanor or felony matter,
it is likely that the defendant will not be released from jail until the
defendant or the defendant's family posts bail. If the defendant is
not bailed out, he or she will be taken to court within 48 hours of being
arrested, not counting the weekend. Bail means three things:
- The release of the defendant from jail;
- The bondsman; or
- The money or security used to secure the defendant's appearance in court.
There Are Three Ways to Post Bail
The amount of bail depends on the type and seriousness of the crime charged
against the defendant. The bail is based on a countywide schedule which
is available through a bondsman or an attorney. If the defendant or his
or her family desires to post bail for the release of the defendant, there
are three ways to accomplish this:
Cash Bail – Cash, Check, Traveler's Check, or a Money Order must be deposited
in the full amount of the bail to the law enforcement agency holding the
defendant. Once this is completed, the defendant will be released from
the jail and given a future date to appear in court. If the defendant
makes all the required court appearances, the bail will be returned except
for a small administrative fee. If, however, the defendant fails to make
the necessary court appearances, the cash bail is forfeited to the court.
Real Property – The family or the defendant may give any equity in real property
for bail. Generally, the equity must be twice the value of the bail required
for releasing the defendant. The equity of the property can be forfeited
if the defendant fails to make his or her court required appearances.
Bail Bond – This is generally the most popular manner used in Los Angeles
County to bail someone out of jail. A defendant or his family posts the
bail bond, which is the document given to the court by the arrestee's
surety (bail bond company) to guarantee that the defendant will attend
all required court appearances. The bail bond company charges a cash premium
of 7% to 10% of the bail amount to post the bond. Example: the presumed
bail for certain domestic violence charges is $50,000. The premium would
be $3500 to $5000. Sometimes this premium can be made in payments to the
bail bond company. The percentage charged by the bail bond company is
non-refundable. It is the price or premium charged for undertaking the
posting of the bail bond with the court. In the event that the defendant
does not make the required court appearances and the bond is forfeited
to the court, the signor (defendant, friend, or family member) of the
bail bond will be responsible for paying the entire bail amount back to
the bail bonds company.
Contact Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners for Help
Before bailing someone out of jail, you should consult with an experienced
Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney to learn what your options are.
Often, family members rush to bail someone out and then learn at the first
court appearance (the arraignment) that the bail was increased because
more charges were added to the criminal complaint. When that occurs, the
defendant can be taken back to jail until the new bail is posted.
It is tricky. That is why it is better to consult an attorney before you
post bail. An experienced attorney will tell you the positives and negatives
of posting bail at any specific time. If it is necessary, we will refer
you to a reputable bail bonds company. We regularly obtain the release
of many of our clients without posting bail. This saves the client or
the family a lot of money, which in turn can be applied to fighting and
defending the criminal case.