This question is frequently asked by those who are for the first time faced with helping a person get out of jail. First, the arrestee is taken to a holding facility and the person is ‘booked in’. This booking process involves fingerprinting, the so-called mug-shot, and a search to find if any outstanding warrants exist. The charges are confirmed, the bail amount set, and last, a court date and time is set before release. This process may take a few hours. If no outstanding warrants exist and this is not a capital crime (murder), the person is eligible for bail. Learn more about the Bail Process.
Own Recognizance is an unsecured, government backed, release of a defendant on the promise the he/she will return to court at the appointed time and place. If he/ or she is eligible for an O.R. the review staff at the jail will assess each person on the following merits: * The type of alleged crime, * The immediate family’s support (whether they live in the immediate community) * The defendant’s past criminal history * The defendant’s job history, both current and present, within that community. Each defendant can provide to the assessment team various people who can speak well of them and verify his/or her status in the community. Each will be interviewed by phone. If an O.R. is granted there is no need for a bail bondsman; however, this does not dismiss the defendant from making all court appearances.
This seems to be an area that most people don’t understand very well. The action of forfeiture is when a person does not make their court appearance. Although it can compromise the bail agreement and the court’s view of the defendant, it can be solved sometimes very simply. We know things can go wrong and failing to appear in court at the appropriate time and place – happens. And yes, a bench warrant will be issued, but remember, a bail bond company can be a good friend in many cases. We know the court system and can suggest your best approach with the courts. So, if your person fails to go to court, please inform us immediately. We work for you – our valued customer.
A bond is valid as long as the case lasts. If the case lasts for more than a year, but not more than 2 years, the bond company is entitled to another full premium (the 10% fee). The same bond continues until the case is completed.
Is a bail bond company the only option available to get someone out of jail – what other options exist?
No. Here are three different approaches:
- Pay the court / jail all cash. The court will refund all the money after the case is completed less any fees or outstanding fines due the court – you will be advised on these deductions.
- A US Treasury Bond is also recognized by some courts.
- Real Property. The court will ask for an appraisal of the property and this may take some time to acquire and submit to the court.
A public defender is appointed to a defendant who does not have the financial ability to retain an attorney – this is the basic difference. What about that myth, “Are you only allowed one call?” California Penal Code 851.5 states that the arrested person has the right to make at least three free local telephone calls upon being booked: one call to an attorney, one to a bail bondsman, and one to a relative or other personal contact.