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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 and released.

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.