How much does bail cost?

If you have a loved one in jail, then your first question (of many) is likely, “How much does bail cost?” While there are a few options once someone has been arrested, odds are you probably want to get your friend or family member out of jail as quickly as possible. So, figuring out how much bail is and how to post it is almost always an immediate concern.

If you don’t go the bail route, then your loved one will be required to remain in jail until the court process has been completed. This can be quite a long time. 

If you decide to post bail, then you have two options — pay the bail outright to the court or work with a bail bond agent. Since bail can be a high amount (especially if it’s not a minor charge), most people can’t afford bail, and they’ll end up reaching out to a local bail bond company.

At this point, you won’t be required to pay the full bail amount to the court. Instead, you’ll pay a bail fee to the bail bond company, and the bail bond company will post the full bail amount on your behalf.

If you’re wondering, “How much does a bail bond cost?” — then you’ll need to only calculate the bail fee amount. The bail fee amount is a percentage of the full bail amount. In California, this usually sits at or around 10%. So, if your bail is set at $10,000, you owe the bail bond company $1,000. 

Keep in mind — while the full bail amount is refundable (if you don’t have a failure to appear in court), the bail fee paid to a bail bond company is non-refundable (even if the charges are dropped in the future). However, certain bail bond companies will do their best to work with you and may be able to provide payment options (or other forms of payment).

In some cases, you will be required to put up collateral, as well. There are many types of collateral, including homes, cars, and jewelry. You’ll want to be very careful choosing your collateral since this can technically become the property of the bail bond company if your loved one fails to appear in court. 

Want to keep learning about the bail bond process?

Take a look at our additional resources, and reach out to us if you have any questions.