// How it Works
In some cases, without a bail bond, a defendant who has been arrested is kept in jail until arraignment and possibly until trial. Arraignment is the hearing when the defendant is brought in front of a judge to hear the charges. While arraignment may be “only” three business days away, sometimes less, this can mean close to a week in jail causing employment and families undo stress and strain as well as the inconvenience of incarceration.
For the defendant, rather than waiting to either get bail reduced or be released upon his/her own recognizance, many defendants post a bail bond so they can go about their normal business until the trial has taken place. A bail bond provides the guarantee to the court that a defendant will return to court to stand trial.
// The Process
Arrest & Booking
After a person is arrested, s/he is taken to a local law enforcement station for booking. The booking process can take up to 24 hours depending on the size and work load of the jail unless there are space or size issues and transport considerations which could then start the clock over and more time could be lost. If the choice is made to post a bail bond it is better to start the process sooner to reduce any extraneous time in jail while concluding the arrangements.
How to Arrange and Post a Bond
For other bail options, click here.
If one does not have access to enough cash for bail, or if one does not want to tie up funds, a bail bonds company can post bail for you, here are the steps involved:
- A friend, relative, or attorney contacts a licensed bail bond company.
- The bail bondsman gets basic information about the arrestee: the charges, booking number, jail, etc. The bail company also evaluates the risk involved in writing the bail bond. The bondsman may ask about employment history, length of residence, arrest history, and more.
- Once the bond company agrees to write the bond the transaction is completed upon the paperwork being submitted to the jail.
- The bail bondsman then posts bail at the jail facility and the jail begins release procedures.
While it only takes about an hour to post bail, release procedures at the jail can some times take many more hours
Bail Bond Costs & Fees
For instance, if the bail amount is set at $100,000, the bail bond fee in California would be 10%, or $10,000. Most bail companies require the fee up-front, prior to posting the bond. As immediate access to large amounts of cash can be an obstacle, payment plans or other financing options are often available as well as credit cards.
Because the bail bond process can vary widely between states – and even between individual jails in the same city – it's a good idea to work with an experienced, licensed bond agent. The agent will help you understand the bail process, complete the important paperwork, and work with the jail to have your loved one released as quickly as possible.
When Would Bail Ever Be Forfeited?
The person signing the bail bond contract agrees to pay the bond, premium and any expenses incurrerd if the bail bond goes to summary judgment. (Summary judgment is when 180 days have passed and the defendent has not appeared, hence the judge issues a summary judgment.)