Bailable and Non-Bailable Offenses

The bail bonds process can be a complex and cumbersome one. Individuals may not always know where they stand. They may be unsure about what offenses make them eligible for jail time and which offenses do not. Information about bailable and non-bailable offenses makes it more clear what path of recourse an individual may have after an arrest.

Bail bonds process

The bail bonds process begins with an arrest warrant or an arrest without warrant. An individual is arrested under probable cause that a crime has been committed. A determination then has to be made about his or her status before trial by a judge. The judge has to weigh a number of different factors both from an arrest warrant and an arrest without warrant. The most important factors to consider are the severity of an individual’s crime, the chance that the defendant fails to return to court, and the chance that the individual will commit other crimes once they are released from custody. A judge always has to make a difficult call.

Once bail is decided upon, he or she then must either send an individual to jail or release them if they are able to immediately post the bail. If the individual cannot post bail or a personal bond, they must then go to a bail agent. The bail agent will provide them with a surety if they agree to pay 20% up-front for the bond. Once the bond is paid by the bail agent, an individual is released pending trial per Section 437 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in a particular jurisdiction. This process of surety and bail is currently applicable in 49 states. California’s justice system has recently eliminated cash bail. The law eliminating bail and the resulting personal bond gives California’s justice system another year to decide how to handle bail cases, and what to do if a defendant fails to return to court, in the future.

Bailable offenses

Bailable offenses are offenses that allow for the posting of bail. In most cases, these crimes are relatively small and petty. They include simple assaults, thefts, and cashing bad checks. Section 437 of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides guidelines about bail amounts for the individuals who have been accused of these crimes. Even more major crimes such as murder S.302 IPC, dowry death S.304-B IPC, kidnapping S. 363 IPC, and attempt to murder S.307 IPC can provide for bail in extreme instances.

Non-bailable offenses

There are two broad categories of non-bailable offenses. One category is a range of crimes so heinous and committed with such considerable supporting evidence that the judge does not believe it is prudent to release an individual at all. An example of this type of crime would be murder S.302 IPC, dowry death S.304-B IPC, Kidnapping S. 363 IPC, or attempt to murder S.307 IPC. Individuals may be so dangerous that a judge does not believe they should be released under any circumstances.

In this wide range of extremely serious crimes is occasionally listed the crime of kidnapping. Kidnapping and severe forms of domestic violence may not allow for bail because an individual has proven that he or she has a particular obsession with another individual. That obsession makes it likely for the individual being jailed to recommit if they are released. The judge has a duty to protect the public safety as much as he or she has the duty to release an individual who is assumed innocent until proven guilty. As a result, the individual may be held without bail or granted conditional bail. Conditional bail may involve ankle monitoring or some other way in which it can be ensured that an individual will not recommit.

The other broad reason that an individual might be denied bail is because they are a flight risk. They may be experienced pilots or have close ties to countries that do not have extradition treaties. In that case, these individuals may be held unless their attorneys can convince a judge that their flight risk has been overblown for one reason or another.


Almost all individuals who have been arrest are afforded bail. They may need to consult with their families and a bail agent in order to meet that bail. The bail may be massively expensive and it may seem out of an individual’s reach. However, it will be available in some form or fashion. For those who are not given the option of bail, they have more serious consequences to worry about than a few months in county jail.