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Questions and Answers About Bail

Posted on: 10/12/2011

In the bail industry we get lots of questions. Being arrested is often a trying and confusing experience for not only the detainee but for friends and family. Asking questions is good! We encourage our clients to ask as many questions as it takes to feel comfortable. Here are a few of our top most asked questions.

Q How long does it take for someone to be released once bail is made?

How long it takes before someone who has made bail is released depends on the jail. Each prison has its own procedures. It also depends on how many other people are waiting at the time. Most prisons will work through the queue in order, first in first out. Weekends, when arrest numbers are often high, are when you will see the longest processing times. Check out our resources section for prison contacts throughout Northern California.


Q How Much is it to Bail Someone Out of Prison?

Bail is set on a case by case basis by the judge. The bail, if available to the defendant, is set during what is known as an arraignment hearing. During this hearing the charges are formally read and a plea is entered. The judge presiding over the hearing decides if the defendant can be released on their own recognizance, or if bail can be offered. The amount of the bail is determined by a bail schedule along with the judge’s assessment of the case.


Q What happens to the money if you post bail and charges are dropped?

If you posted the bail yourself with the court and have made all your appearances you will get what you posted back. If you have used a bail bond company you never pay the full bail. The bail agent posts the necessary bail and charges you a fee. The bail agent’s fee is for their services so is non-refundable. The details of payment and fees should be explained clearly to you by your bondsman.


Q What is bail forfeiture?

An involuntary bail forfeiture is what happens when a someone released on bail misses a scheduled court proceeding. The bail is revoked and the court keeps the money that has been paid.


Q What are the restrictions for someone out on bail in California?

Once you have posted bail, your attorney can advise you of any special restrictions. Obviously following all laws, including traffic and parking laws, is a must. You must make all your scheduled court appearances or risk going back to jail. The contract with your bondsman might also have some travel restrictions.


Do you have a question about bail or the bail process? Ask us in the comments below. For immediate help call us at (888) 519-4080

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