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Everything You Need To Know About The Bail Process In California

By October 2, 2017 August 31st, 2020 Criminal Defense

Getting out of jail is not easy if you’re arrested and charged with a crime in Northern California-especially a felony.
Many suspects arrested for misdemeanors are released “O.R.” (on their own recognizance), but for most suspects who are charged with committing felonies, posting bail may be the only option for getting out of jail while awaiting trial.
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When the charge is a serious or violent felony, or if the defendant is thought to be a flight risk, bail may be denied. If the court finds that there is a substantial likelihood that the person’s release would result in great bodily harm to others the Court will not permit bail or set it very high.
How does bail work in the state of California, and what happens at a bail hearing?
If you are charged with a crime, bail is the sum of money that the court requires you to pay – along with your promise to appear in court on your next court date – in order to get out of jail. In California, you can pay the bail amount with cash, a bail bond, or a property bond.
The courts will accept cash, money orders, and personal, traveler’s, and cashier’s checks. If you appear in court as scheduled, and if you’re found not guilty or if the charge against you is dismissed, your cash bail will be returned to you.
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However, a complicated criminal case may last for a year or longer, and a defendant will not be able to use or invest bail funds while the case is pending. Even when a defendant is acquitted or a charge is dismissed, it may take from 6 to 12 weeks to receive your cash bail back from the county after the conclusion of a case.
If a defendant is found guilty, the bail money can be used toward paying his or her fines. If a defendant does not appear in court as scheduled, that defendant’s bail amount will be forfeited or lost along with property and other assets that may have been used for collateral if a bail bonds company was involved.
Paying for bail with cash is unusual, simply because not very many of us can simply write a personal check for a bail amount. Bail is never cheap. Although you can pay the full bail amount in cash if you are able, most people obtain a bail bond through a bail bondsman. A bail bondsman usually loans a defendant the full amount of the bail for a ten percent, up-front, nonrefundable fee.
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ONE Benefit among Many When Hiring a Private Attorney or Law Firm
Our firm has worked it out with the bail bond companies that upon a defendant hiring our law firm, the bail company will return a percentage of the proceeds paid by the defendant or whoever posted bail.
HOW MUCH IS BAIL IN CALIFORNIA?
In California, a bail amount depends on the seriousness of the criminal charge and on the jurisdiction where the charge is filed. Each county in California has established its own list of crimes and bail amounts—known as its bail schedule. Some Counties “stack” the schedules to increase the bail amount.
For the most serious crimes in this state, bail can be a million dollars or more, although $20,000 and $50,000 are more typical bail amounts for less serious offenses. In Northern California, if someone cannot afford bail or believes that his or her bail amount is unfair or excessive, an experienced North Bay criminal defense attorney can request a bail hearing on that defendant’s behalf.
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BAIL HEARINGS ARE VITAL TO GETTING YOUR CLIENTS OUT OF JAIL QUICKER
At a California bail hearing, a defendant and his or her attorney can ask the court to reduce the bail amount or to drop bail entirely and release the defendant on his or her own recognizance. Judges in this state have wide discretion to establish, modify, eliminate, or deny a defendant’s bail.
If our Firm cannot convince the Judge to release our client on OR (without bail) then we try to persuade the court to allow the defendant to be released on no bail, but agree to a plan of formal, supervised probation consisting of GPS monitoring, drug and alcohol testing, and visits to the probation office. If these two request fail then our attorneys will fight zealously to convince the court to severely reduce the amount of bail so that client defendant can return to work and also more easily prepare trial.
The FOUR main factors that a California judge will consider when fixing the amount of bail are: (1) the seriousness of the offense; (2) the defendant’s previous criminal record; (3) the probability that the defendant will make future court appearances and; (4) the safety of the general public if the suspect is released.
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CAN A CALIFORNIA JUDGE INCREASE A DEFENDANT’S BAIL AMOUNT?
You may not know that while a judge in California can reduce a defendant’s bail amount, a judge may also increase a defendant’s bail amount if the judge believes that such action is warranted. If a defendant seeks a bail reduction, for instance, the prosecutor may bring new information or evidence to the court’s attention, and a judge may believe that the new information or evidence warrants a higher bail amount.
When a suspect is accused of a serious felony, (sex and violent offenses are scrutinized more carefully by judges) a California judge usually will not reduce that suspect’s bail amount below the minimum bail schedule amount listed by that jurisdiction. In such a case, the judge would have to be persuaded by “unusual circumstances” in the case or “good cause” to order a lower bail amount. A defendant’s other option is to ask to be released “O.R.”
CAN AGREEING TO CONDITIONS REDUCE A DEFENDANT’S BAIL?
An experienced North Bay criminal defense attorney may recommend proposing specific bail conditions to the judge. If a defendant will agree to certain specified bail conditions, an otherwise resolute judge may be persuaded to reduce a bail amount or even sign off on an O.R. release. Some of those conditions include supervised probation conditions, a strict stay away order or a CPO, GPS or electronic monitoring.  A judge may not however impose any bail condition that violates a defendant’s constitutional rights.
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Every criminal defendant in the United States has the right to an attorney. If you are charged with a crime, exercise that right, and do not try to act as your own attorney. A good California defense lawyer can give those facing criminal charges sound and reliable legal advice regarding bail options, defense strategies, jail alternatives and the other matters that anyone who is charged with a crime in Northern California will face. For those faced with the difficulty of paying hefty bail fees, there are local public resources, financial support programs for parents and other government resources.
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WE Always Look for Ways to REDUCE or ELMINATE BAIL for OUR Clients!
WE do our homework before the Bail Hearing and provide a checklist to the Court showing:

  • Provide the Court with defendant’s close ties to the community—including bringing to the Court’s attention sworn affidavits, or character letters of reference, among other indicia;
  • Evidence of how long the defendant and defendant’s family has lived in the Community.
  • Evidence that defendant is gainfully employed and provide evidence of the length of employment—even if we have to have the employer appear in Court
  • Provide evidence of defendant’s ownership of property in the community
  • Provide the Court with information that the defendant will show up for the next court appearance since the defendant has no prior criminal history and no warrants or failures to appear to Court in any other case, or jurisdiction.

SINCE 1992 FIUMARA & MILLIGAN LAW HAS BEEN FIGHTING EVERY STEP OF THE WAY FOR ITS CLIENTS
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If you are arrested for a crime, you should IMMEDIATELY contact and hire an experienced and highly skilled criminal defense attorney immediately from the Fiumara & Milligan Law Firm.
WE are able to get you a reduction in your bail from 7% to 10% by the mere fact that we are reputable and Bail bonds companies trust us.
CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY
First and foremost, we have the resources and experience to get the job done.
Second, we offer payment plans for our clients and work with them to ensure they get the BEST LEGAL defense at an affordable rate.
Third, our results speak for themselves and we have obtained numerous DISMISSALS, REDUCTIONS, & NOT GUILTY VERDICTS for our clients since 1992:
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Fourth, you can read about our excellent recommendations and reviews from satisfied clients and colleagues alike at AVVO https://www.avvo.com/attorneys/95405-ca-michael-fiumara-109708/endorsements.html who has given our Law Firm a superb rating!
Excellent YELP rating: https://www.yelp.com/biz/fiumara-and-milligan-law-pc-santa-rosa   
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Finally, we have been nominated Top 100 Trial Lawyers, http://www.thenationaltriallawyers.org/profile-view/Michael/Fiumara/13477/
We know what it takes to achieve satisfaction and success.
If you would like to discuss your criminal charges with a highly skilled and very knowledgeable attorney from FIUMARA & MILLIGAN LAW, PC, or if you wish to learn more about how we can fight for you, please contact our law firm in Santa Rosa, CA in Sonoma County at: 707-571-8600 or our San Rafael, CA office centrally located in Marin County at: 415-492-4507.
“The Right Attorney makes all the Difference.”
Please CLICK HERE to see our Ten Hot Tips On Bail. 

Michael A. Fiumara

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