Many people trying to get a loved one out of jail wonder, “Is it better to pay bail or bond?” And to answer this question, it depends on your individual circumstances.
Let’s break down the question, “Is it better to pay bail or bond?”
Is bail on the cheap end?
Bail is never exactly “cheap” — but sometimes, it is cheaper than it usually is. In this case, we’re talking about misdemeanors or first time offenses, and you’ll be looking at a bail between $1,000 and $5,000.
If you can afford to pay this amount, then you should pay bail — as opposed to contacting a bail bond agency. Since bail is refunded in whole and a bond is not, you can pay the $5,000 to the court and get the full $5,000 back once the court process is finished.
Can you be out the full bail amount for up to a year?
Even if you can afford to pay the full bail amount, can you be without this money for up to a year (or even longer)? If not, then you should consider paying for a bond instead. Even though you will not be refunded the 10% fee, at least you will not be out a large sum of money for a long time period.
If you can’t afford to pay the full bail amount, then this is obviously the best reason to pay for a bond instead. You will only be required to pay for 10% of the total bail amount and the bail bond agent will take care of the rest.
If you’re wondering, “How much do you pay for a $1,000 bond?” — there are a few different things to keep in mind.
For starters, bail and bond are two different things. Your bond amount is set by a bail bond company. Therefore, if your bond is $1,000, then you have to pay the entire $1,000 to the bail bond company. This likely means your total “bail” amount (set by the court) is around $10,000.
However, if your total bail amount is $1,000, then you’ll be required to pay around $100 to the bail bond company — since the bail bond fee in California is 10%.
$10,000 (bail) X 10% (bail bond fee) = $1,000 (bail bond)
$1,000 (bail) X 10% (bail bond fee) = $100 (bail bond)
This being said, bail is returned after the court process is completed. For this reason, if your total bail amount is relatively low, then you may want to consider paying the total bail amount to court as opposed to working with a bail bond company (since the 10% fee set by the bail bond company is not returned). However, you should only consider this option if you can afford to be without that money for a long period of time (since the court process can take a while to conclude).
If you’d like to learn more about this process, check out some additional resources:
While there may be additional fees accompanied with the bond, they should all be disclosed up front.
When should you get a bail bond?
If you have enough money saved up to pay for the total bail amount, then you can pay the total amount to the court instead of working with a bail bond company. Here are a few things to consider if you’re debating this option:
Do you trust the defendant? If you don’t and the defendant skips court, then you won’t get your bail money returned. In this case, it might be a good idea to work with a bail bond company. You won’t have to put up the full bail amount (only 10%), and you’ll have a bail bond agent who will take actions to return the defendant to court (usually with the help of a bounty hunter).
Is the total bail amount low? If so, then you may not want to work with a bail bond company. Since your bail amount is returned after the court process is over (and if the defendant shows up to court), then you could potentially save money this way. While you will have to spend money initially, you will eventually get it back.
Is the total bail amount high? Even if you can afford the total bail amount, odds are your money will be wrapped up for a while. If you can’t afford to have that money unavailable for a long period of time, then you may want to work with a bail bond company.
What are bail bond rates and is it possible to negotiate a cheaper rate?
In California, bail bond rates are set by the state, and it is not possible to negotiate a cheaper rate. The state-mandated bail bond rate is 10%, and if a bail bond company approaches you with a cheaper one, then you should remain cautious. This likely means that the company is not properly licensed to do business in the state of California.
However, it is possible to get a “better” deal — even if it isn’t necessarily an option to get a better rate.
For example, some bail bond companies might accept more forms of collateral, which could prove to be useful in your particular situation. Another example would be payment terms. Some bail bond companies may require the fee all up front, while others might be willing to work with you and negotiate payment terms that suit your individual financial needs.
Therefore, while the bail bond rate itself is non-negotiable, you do have options. Make sure you conduct research and find a bail bond company who is willing to work with you and your family during such a difficult time.
If you’re trying to post bail for a friend or loved one, a bail bond company can help.
Rather than paying the entire bail amount to the court, you can pay a bail bond company a small percentage to post bail on your behalf. Since the total bail amount can be pretty expensive, the bail bond option can be very useful for many people.
If you’re wondering, “How much do bail bond companies charge?”, then you’ll first need to figure out your total bail amount.
How much do bail bond companies charge?
In California, bail bonds should be 10% of the total bail amount. If a bail bond company attempts to charge you any more or any less than 10%, then you should proceed with caution. This percentage is set by the state of California.
This being said, if your bail is set at $10,000, then the bail company should charge you $1,000 for the bail bond. While there may be additional fees, these should all be disclosed at the very beginning of the process. You should not receive additional fees or charges once the bail bond documents have been signed and processed.
What should you look for in a bail bond company?
Since the bail bond fee should be the same from one bail bond company to the next, there are a few things you should keep in mind when deciding what bail bond company to work with.
Here’s what you should consider:
Will they come to you?
Are they open on the weekends?
Are they open 24 hours a day?
Are they familiar with your community?
Do they know the local bail bond process?
How quickly will they work on getting your loved one out of jail?
Will they provide you with additional resources and guidance throughout the process?
Even though you are likely in a hurry and want to get your loved one out of jail quickly, it’s important to take your time selecting a bail bond company. The more comfortable you are with your bail bond company and the more experienced they are with local bail bonds, the quicker your loved one will be able to come home.
If you’re wondering what crimes can post bail, the answer is: all of them.
However, this does not mean that all defendants will be given the opportunity to actually post bail.
Let’s break this down.
Why would someone not be allowed to post bail?
Bail is determined by the court, and there are average bail amounts by crime. Bail will increase with more serious crimes.
In some cases, however, the judge may deny bail altogether.
If the defendant has previously posted bail and failed to appear in court, then it is likely that they will not be allowed to post bail. As another example, if releasing the defendant back into public poses too many security concerns for other people, then it is also likely that they will not be allowed to post bail.
Denial of bail can also happen if a person has violated parole in the past or if they have an arrest warrant out in another city.
Can you be denied bail but still released from jail?
In other situations, you could actually be denied but still released from jail. This happens if you’re granted an OR release.
When this happens, you do not need to post bail, but you will likely have to adhere to certain restrictions. This may include house arrest, drug testing, and a license suspension.
This is usually only available for very minor crimes (like DUIs) and first-time offenses.
If your loved one is in jail and you’re wondering, “Are bail bonds worth it?”, then the answer is almost always yes.
Bail isn’t exactly cheap, and the majority of people cannot afford to post bail on their own. This is why they turn to a bail bond company.
When you post bail with a company instead of on your own, you’re only responsible for a 10% fee instead of the entire bail amount. The bail bond company will post bail on your behalf and get your loved one out of jail usually within 24 hours.
This particular facet of bail bonds is the most important facet.
Unfortunately, the court system does not work nearly as fast as it should work. And because of this, people (even innocent people) may wait weeks or even months in jail before they are able to attend court and plead their case.
Because of this, bail bonds are worth it.
When are bail bonds not worth it?
Keep in mind, we did say that bail bonds are almost always worth it. In other words, there are times when posting bail is not worth it.
In our opinion, if your loved one is not trustworthy or has posted bail and skipped court on a previous occasion, then you may want to reconsider signing a bail bond on their behalf.
If your loved one skips court, you will be on the hook for the entire bail amount.
Bail is only a temporary payment to the court. It is refunded once the court proceedings are over. If you did not seek out a bond and paid the full amount to the court on your own instead, then this means you will not receive a refund from the court. If you did work with a bail bond company, then this means that the bail bond company has the right to seize any collateral you signed over to them. For many people, collateral includes homes or vehicles.
So again, if you do not trust that your loved one will return to court, then you need to heavily reconsider signing a bond for them.
If you’re wondering how bail bonds in Bakersfield work, then you’ve come to the right place.
Although getting a loved one out of jail can be overwhelming, the bail bond process doesn’t have to add to that stress. When you work with an experienced bail bond company in Bakersfield, you can benefit in a variety of ways.
Let’s take a few moments to cover how the bail bond process works in Bakersfield, CA and provide you with some quick tips and tricks to keep in mind.
The first step of bail bonds in Bakersfield
The first step of the bail bond process is finding a bail bond company.
When looking for a bail bond company, make sure you find one within your county. You want to work with a bail bond agent who knows your local jails and city departments really well and can quickly get you in touch with the right people.
Once you find a bail bond company in Bakersfield, it’s important to make the paperwork process your top priority. The sooner you get this out of the way, the sooner your bail bond agent can get your loved one out of jail.
Paperwork usually consists of personal, financial, and work information — for both you and your loved one in jail.
To get a bond from a bail bond company in Bakersfield, you need to be prepared to pay around 10% of the total bail amount. This fee is non-refundable. If bail bond companies say they can give you a rate lower than 10%, be wary. These percentages are set by the state, and if a company offers a lower rate, it usually means they are not following state laws and may not be reputable.
Once payment terms have been set and the paperwork filed, your bail bond agent can work to get your loved one out of jail. They will pay the total bail amount on your behalf, file the appropriate paperwork, and get your loved one out of jail quickly.
Remember, this doesn’t mean your loved one is in the clear. They still have to return to court on the scheduled date. If they fail to appear, then your forms of collateral might be on the hook. The bail bond company might also work with a bounty hunter to get your loved one to return to court.
If you were given the opportunity to post bail but you fail to appear in court on the appropriate date, your bail is typically declared forfeited.
While this can vary from person to person and circumstance to circumstance, let’s take a look at what commonly happens when bail is forfeited.
Why is bail forfeited?
When a defendant posts bail, they’re basically entering into a contract with the court. In this situation, the court says the following:
If you post bail and return to court on XYZ date, then we will return bail to you after XYZ date. However, if you do not return to court on XYZ date, then you forfeit bail and we will not return the bail money to you.
This typically involves the bail bond company.
If the defendant worked with a bail bond company to post bail, then the bail amount will also not be returned to the bail bond company. However, the bail bond company may have additional opportunities to recoup that lost bail money.
This could mean working with a bounty hunter to deliver the defendant back to court. It could also mean selling the defendant’s collateral in order to make up that lost money.
The defendant paid a $2,000 bail bond fee to the bail bond company. To make up for the additional $18,000, they signed over their vehicle as collateral. If the defendant fails to appear in court, the bail bond company can sell the defendant’s vehicle to recoup that additional $18,000.
If you’re in need of a bail bond, this is why it’s important to select your collateral carefully. Avoid signing over primary vehicles and residences. Otherwise, if your loved one skips court and you worked with a bail bond company on their behalf, you could have some serious hurdles in front of you. Using collateral options such as jewelry or a secondary vehicle is always a more ideal scenario.
Obviously the best way to avoid forfeiting bail would be to show up to court on the appropriate day. This way you can avoid the lost money, a warrant for your arrest, and a potential automatic Guilty plea.
However, if you simply must skip court, then we recommend working with a lawyer to excuse your absence.
This is possible if your absence is justified. This typically involves incidents that involve a hospital or a death, but there may be additional circumstances that would merit an excused absence. It’s best to consult with an attorney to explore all your options.
We can provide you with a list of average bail amounts by crime, but there are a few things to keep in mind.
For starters, just because there’s an average bail amount, does not mean that a person charged with that particular crime will have their bail set at or near that average amount.
The average bail should be looked at as more of a “recommendation” by the court. You may receive a higher or lower bail amount based on your criminal history and individual circumstances. It is also possible that you do not get bail at all, and you’re required to remain in jail while you await trial.
This being said, let’s take a look at some of the most common crimes and their average bail amounts.
Restraining order violations: Depending on at what point you violated a restraining order and what your criminal history looks like, bail for a restraining order violation can be set anywhere between $15,000 to $150,000.
Drinking and driving: The bail amount for a DUI can drastically vary depending on how many DUIs you’ve had and what occurred during the episode. For example, a typical DUI can start around $20,000. If harm to a person occurred (including vehicular manslaughter), this can increase to as much as $100,000 (depending on whether or not gross negligence is part of the equation).
Other common vehicle crimes: Aside from drinking and driving, there are a handful of common vehicle-related crimes. For example, $20,000 to $30,000 is the average bail amount for the following incidents: driving a car without a person’s consent (depending on the vehicle and criminal history), hit and runs (with no major bodily harm), and throwing something at a moving vehicle (with no major physical or bodily harm).
Drug possession charges: Drug possession charges vary drastically, and it is very difficult to provide an average bail amount. The set amount will be based on the amount of drugs in possession, the type of drugs in possession, and your intent (using, manufacturing, distributing, etc). For small amounts with no intent to distribute, bail typically starts around $25,000. For large amounts with the intent to distribute, bail can be set anywhere between $500,000 and $5,000,000.
Burglary: If the theft is something similar to stealing from a person or a store, bail could be set at $20,000. If the defendant entered someone’s home, this could increase to $50,000. Vehicular theft can increase bail to as much as $100,000. All of these bail amounts can increase based on the dollar amount of goods stolen.
Assault: Physical assault (not to be confused with sexual assault) can vary depending on who was assaulted, how serious the assault was, and if there were weapons used during the assault. For example, a simple assault charge could start at $10,000. If the defendant had a firearm during the assault, then it would start at $50,000.
If you’re working with a bail bond company, then you don’t have to pay the full bail amount to court. Learn more about how to calculate bail bonds.
Need help posting bail? Cowboy Bail Bonds can help.