Do You Need to Post Bail?

If someone has been arrested, they can be held in jail until they are cited out (released on their own recognizance or after posting bail).  Bail is cash or its equivalent (generally 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 guarantee the defendant makes all his or her required court appearances.  The amount of bail you will have to post is set according to a uniform Los Angeles countywide bail schedule.

There are three ways you can post bail:

1.)  pay the entire amount in cash or a check;

2.)  pledge real or personal property (e.g., your house, sports car, RV, or anything else of significant value); or

3.)  use a bail bondsman.

A Los Angeles criminal lawyer from DCS Defense can guide you and your family through the process, and could represent you at a bail hearing, and fight for a release of the defendant without posting bail, or significantly reducing it.

Bail Bonds

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 absconds (takes off), the bail bond company is obligated pay the court the entire bail amount.

Bail Bonds companies usually charge a non-refundable premium of 8% to10% of the designated bail to post a bond with the court.  For example, if the judge sets bail at $30,000, the bail bondsman will charge you $3,000 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 actually 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 be valid only for a limited time, perhaps a year.  If the criminal case extends beyond a year, then the defendant may have to pay an additional fee.  Consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney before posting a bond.

Bail Bonds – Los Angeles

Los Angeles Bail Bond companies generally require a “co-signer” for a bond (e.g a family member, a close friend, or someone with excellent credit).  Depending on 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 – ski boats, RV’s, you name it).  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 (e.g. If the defendant’s mother put up her house as collateral for the bond, they’re going after it.  Yes, it happens).

The Right Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

If someone you know has been arrested, getting him or her released from custody is a priority.  In California, the process of getting a person released on bail varies from county to county.  An experienced Los Angeles criminal lawyer knows 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 Los Angeles County criminal court system.  With DCS Defense, you will have the assistance of experienced criminal defense lawyers who can help you in the following ways:

  • Obtaining an OR (Own Recognizance) Release.  At the first court hearing, which is usually within 48 hours of the arrest (not counting weekends & holidays) we can argue to the judge that you are a good candidate for OR release because you can be trusted to appear in court, you are not a flight risk or a danger to the community, 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 we are experienced with and can assist you.
  • 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.

Get Out of Jail!

There are many aspects of the bail process.  At DCS Defense, we 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 counties across Southern California. 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.  Consult with us first; we will determine if it is absolutely necessary for you to go to a bail bondsman.  If it is, we will refer you to a bail bonds company that we trust to treat you and your case with the professionalism our firm demands.

Contact Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Damian Siwek at DCS Defense for a free consultation regarding your questions about bail bonds, if you need to post bail, or if are facing a bail hearing.