Bail bonds are not something that average person has a lot of experience with. In fact, most people don’t know anything about bail bonds other than the fact that they’re used as collateral when a person gets out of jail after some sort of offense.
Whether you need a bail bond for yourself or you need to help a family member, friend or loved one out, understanding how they work is essential after an arrest. Unfortunately, bail and bail bond criterion is different in every county which can make it hard to understand as an entity.
Still, there are some basic criteria used to determine which individual can put up bail after an offense and which cannot. Of course, to really understand the laws in your county you’re going to need to talk to a bail bondsman in your area.
Use this guide to help you get a basic understanding of how the arrest, bail and bail bonds process works in general.
During an Arrest
Before the bail process, the person being arrested will be taken into custody by the arresting police officer. Typically, the person will be transferred to the county jail where they will be placed in a holding cell. In some places, specific holding cells are set up for certain types of common offenders – particularly those arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
In most cases, the person who was arrested will be held for several hours while paperwork is being processed. An individual is usually released from holding once their paper work has been processed – typically within a few hours to overnight. However, that is not always the case, depending on the nature of the offense.
When Are Bail Bonds Needed?
Bail bonds are typically needed when an individual commits a serious offense or it is not their first offense. For example, many people who arrested for DUI are released and given their court date without having to post bail before they can leave the county jail. However, if a person has a second DUI offense, they may be required to post bail before they are released. In some places, bail bonds are required for DUI in all cases, including San Diego County and many others.
Typically, bail bonds are not needed for relatively minor offenses like misdemeanor drug possessions or reckless endangerment through something like driving more than 20 miles over the speed limit. Still, this does vary from county to county, and there are no ways to know unless you do the specific research on your area. If you have been arrested, you will be informed about how bail will work in your specific case based on your individual offense and criminal record.
How Much is Bail? One of the most common questions people have about bail bonds is how much they really cost. While it does vary widely from person to person and offense to offense, minimum bail bonds in most areas start around $2,500. That’s because bail bonds are generally only needed for relatively serious offenses or when there is reason to believe that a person will not show up for their issued court date.
Second, third and fourth offenses will generally cost much more than $2,500 for a bond to release the person from jail.
Who Can Get a Bail Bond?
Whether or not a person is eligible for a bail bond depends on a variety of different factors. First, the offense must be a bailable offense in the county where the violation occurred. Some types of offense, felony drug possession, trafficking, or much more serious crimes like attempted manslaughter are not ones that are usually allowed bail.
Offenses that are much smaller, like a first DUI or misdemeanor drug possession are typically bailable offenses if you are a first time offender. In the case of people who have broken a particular law or who have a long rap sheet, bail is still a possibility but the amount will usually be considerably higher.
In order to obtain bail, you may need to put up some sort of collateral or pay a portion of the bond in cash on your own. Large bail bonds may even require you to put up possessions like a stake in your home or vehicle in order to obtain them and be released.
Even if you or a family member or loved one is initially denied bail, you may be able to appeal and still get it in court.