Posting Bail in CA
Nobody’s perfect, and we are all prone to making mistakes. Unfortunately, some of these mistakes can land us in hot water.
If you or someone you love have found yourself in jail, the days, weeks, and even months ahead will be occupied with court appearances and lots of stress. However, in order to learn from the past and get back on your feet, there are many steps to take. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do as you sit in jail. That’s why posting bail is an option for you to take advantage of. There are five things you need to understand about posting bail in California.
1. Understanding the Bail Process
When you go to jail, a bond will be announced. However, it’s often an amount difficult to come up with on the fly. If you can’t pay it, you must remain locked up until you appear in court. When you post bail, however, you work with a bondsman, and they only require you pay a percentage of the bond, usually around ten percent. This is much easier to come up with. Your commitment to the bondsman is that you will show up on your assigned court date. If you don’t stay true to your end of the commitment, a warrant will be issued for your arrest, and you’ll be facing even more serious charges.
2. Free to Choose
You won’t be approached by a bail bondsman once you’re in jail. They aren’t allowed to solicit business in this way. Instead, you’ll need to get ahold of them. While this may seem to be an inconvenience, it actually puts the power in your hands as you have control over who you choose to help. You may ask other inmates who they recommend, or you could even ask the booking officers who they know of in the area. The important thing to understand is that you are free to select the best bondsman to work with.
3. Beware of Aggressive Approach
While most bondsmen have a high level of integrity, there’re a few bad apples in every barrel. A clear red flag is when a bondsman tries very aggressively to sell you on their services. They understand you’re in a highly vulnerable position, and some will take advantage of this. If they try to sell you on a very low price, under 10 percent, understand that this is illegal. They are likely operating without a license, which is also against the law. Hiring their services may get you into more trouble than you already are.
4. Not Always Necessary
Posting bail is not always necessary, so it’s important to understand the specifics of your case before doing so. For example, in some cases, you may be released on bail on one charge and then be rearrested for something else shortly thereafter. You may also be eligible for release without bail on your own recognizance.
5. Payment Options
While only paying a percentage of your bond is helpful, even that amount is sometimes difficult to acquire. That’s why many bondman will offer payment options. This can help you get back to work and make the money necessary to cover the amount. From payment plans and collateral options to alternate forms of payment and more, it’s important to ask if this is an option before giving up hope.
Getting Back On Your Feet
The option to post bail is allowed due to the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This prohibits the government from making bond too expensive to afford. While you aren’t required to post bail, your only alternative is to wait in jail for your court date, so it’s definitely worth considering.
Rather than letting a past mistake define you, allow it to serve as a valuable lesson from which you can learn and make the rest of your life better. If you’re facing legal trouble, the first step is to get out of jail and begin going through the process of righting your wrong. By understanding these five aspects of posting bail in California, you can be on your way to getting back on your feet and redefining your life.