A Complete Guide to Bail in California
When you or a loved one is sitting in jail during a pending case, you need bail to get released. No matter what you’re charged with or how high your bail is set at, the prosecution needs strong evidence to support their decision.
Seth Morris challenges the evidence against his clients and has filed motions to substantially reduce bail, allowing clients to come home to their families. Hire an attorney that never stops fighting to get you out of jail. Contact our office at 510-225-9955 for a confidential case assessment.
What is Bail?
Bail refers to the amount of money put up for a person to be released from jail. You can use a bail bondsman to post your scheduled bail, or you can pay the total amount as ordered by the court.
Generally, in California, bail schedules vary from county to county. People arrested for one crime in Solano County could have a higher or lower bail when charged with the same offense in Ventura County.
How is Bail Determined in California?
Under California Penal Code § 1275, the California criminal court system looks at several factors when determining how a defendant’s bail should be set. The following factors determine whether the judge sets, lowers, or denies bail:
- If the defendant is a flight risk
- The type of criminal offense
- The severity of the criminal offense
- Whether the defendant’s release endangers the community
- Whether the offense involved a firearm or other deadly weapon
- Whether the defendant has threatened victims or witnesses
- Whether the defendant has a criminal history
- Whether the defendant has previously skipped bail
- Whether the defendant uses or possesses illegal drugs
- Whether the defendant is on probation or parole
When is Bail Determined?
Bail is typically determined at the defendant’s arraignment. Here, the judge will have the authority to decide whether the defendant should be released on their own recognizance (ROR), bail should be set, or bail should be denied.
Bail Amounts Based on The Criminal Offense
Some examples of bail amounts based on types of felony and misdemeanor crimes include:
- $20,000 for assault with a deadly weapon
- $10,000 for burglary in the second degree
- $5,000 for child abuse
- $50,000 for involuntary manslaughter
- $500,000 for murder
- $5,000 for prostitution
- $100,000 for stalking
Exceptions Regarding Bail Amounts
There are several exceptions and rules regarding the amount of bail. These include:
- If the defendant is charged with multiple crimes, bail will be set at the highest amount for the most severe charge
- If the defendant was already on bail at the time of this new offense, bail would be doubled whether the defendant is facing misdemeanor or felony charges
- Bail amounts can be doubled if the defendant has certain types of prior criminal convictions, such as domestic violence
- Bail amounts can be increased when there are certain factors present, such as the infliction of severe bodily injury
How to Get Your CA Bail Reduced
There are many ways an attorney can argue to have your bail reduced. Seth Morris will be your advocate and fight to have you come home to your family.
Your Attorney Can Request a Bail Hearing
Your criminal defense lawyer can request a bail hearing where they will argue for a bail reduction. The judge will take the previously mentioned factors into account, as well as your criminal record, to determine whether bail should be reduced in your case.
Your Attorney Can Defend You at Your Arraignment
However, bail could also be reduced during your arraignment where you enter your plea. Your attorney can argue that you have ties to the community, you are a first-time offender, and you will not pose a threat to the community.
A Change in Circumstances
Under California Penal Code § 1289, bail can also be reduced following a change in circumstances. However, the court can only authorize a bail reduction if good cause is shown. Good cause refers to a change in your circumstances that relates to the case or the proceedings against you.
How to Pay Bail in California
After the California criminal court has set a defendant’s bail, it could be paid in several ways.
Paying in Full at the Defendant’s Location
Payment can be made in cash. You will need to visit the law enforcement agency or courthouse where the defendant is located to pay bail in cash. When you are making a payment in person, payments can generally be made via credit or debit card, cash, money order, or check.
Paying Through Bail Bondsmen
Many defendants cannot cover the total amount of their bail in cash. Instead, they will reach out to a bail bonds person for help. Here, you will pay the bail bondsman a percentage of the total bail amount that acts as a surety.
The bail bond promises the court that if you fail to appear, the bail bond will pay the full amount of your bill. Generally, bail bondsmen will require collateral to ensure that the defendant will appear.
Paying Through Government Bonds or Equity
When bail bonds and cash payments are not an option, you may pay your bail via government bonds or equity in real property. However, these will not be accepted if your government bond market value is less than their face value.
Similarly, your property value must be at least twice the value of your bail for the court to consider accepting it as a form of payment. It is also essential to know that the California criminal court system will not accept bail payments if they suspect that the funds or property in question were acquired through the commission of a felony.
Get Help From a California Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
If you or someone you love needs help getting their bail paid, reach out to an experienced California criminal defense lawyer like Seth Morris for a confidential consultation.