Having to understand the bail process for the first time can be intimidating. Fastrak
Bail Bonds is here to explain all available options so that you may make an informed
and educated decision.
contact us if you don't find what you need here. Our friendly and
experienced bail agents are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer all
of your questions and concerns.
- The Booking Process
- The Purpose of
- The Bail Process
Option 2:Bail Bond
Failure to Appear
- Right to Arrest
- CASH BAIL - click image for details
- BAIL BOND - click image for details
The Booking Process
When an individual is arrested and booked in the local police department or county
jail, he or she is alleged to have committed a crime. During the booking process,
the person’s charges, personal information, description, photograph, fingerprints,
and Department of Justice background check are all registered with the arresting
In addition, personal property, including monies taken from the inmate during the
booking process is itemized and recorded by the detention officer. The person being
detained is also allowed to make telephone calls in accordance to California Penal
Code Section 851.1.
The Purpose of Bail
The sole purpose of bail is to guarantee the individual's return to court, to answer
any alleged criminal charges against that person and until fully exonerated by the
court. When an individual is charged with a crime, our constitution guarantees the
presumption of innocence of every person, and according to the eighth amendment
of the constitution has a right to non-excessive bail.
The Bail Process
Once a person is finished with the booking process, they are eligible for release
on bail. The bail amount for the person’s release is established by the county bail
schedule. The bail schedule’s establishment is pursuant to the Uniform Bail Procedures
Committee and approved by the judges of the Superior Courts of California in each
Furthermore, someone may not be eligible for bail based on the following reasons:
- an outstanding warrant for their arrest
- a court order holding that person without bail
- bail schedule – no bail for the alleged crime, such as murder, a capital crime
In most cases, bail can be posted on warrants that indicate a bail amount. A person
being detained without bail due to a court order or bail schedule may also be required
to appear in court and have their case heard by a judge prior to the posting or
issuance of bail.
* Note: The time required for the booking process and release of a person on bail
is determined by the detention facility and its policies, staff availability, data
There are two main options to posting bail:
- Cash Bail
- Bail Bond
Option 1: Cash Bail
The FIRST OPTION is to deposit *cash, cashier’s check, money order, or *personal
check in the total amount of bail directly with the jail or courthouse.
The deposited money will be held to ensure the defendant’s appearance in court on
the alleged charges and until the case is resolved.
Once the case has been resolved, the deposited money will be returned to the depositor
regardless of the outcome of the case. Once again, the bail money deposited is only
to ensure the person’s appearance in court, not for fines assessed or penalties.
Please wait between 90 and 120 days for the return of money deposited.
* Note: When depositing cash or a personal check to obtain the release of a person,
most police departments and county jails have a maximum amount they will accept.
Please contact them directly for their policy.
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Option 2: Bail Bond
The SECOND OPTION is to obtain a bail bond through a licensed bail bond agency.
A bail bond is good as cash. In addition, it ensures the defendant’s appearance
in court on the alleged charges and until the case is resolved. A co-signer, called
an Indemnitor, enters into a contractual agreement with the bail bond agency on
the defendant’s behalf and is responsible for the total amount of bail and premium
(fee) for the service. The premium (fee) charged is usually 10% of the bail
amount and is regulated by the California Department of Insurance.
In some cases, a bail bond can be written at 8% with certain requirements.
Depending on the seriousness of the charges, the co-signer may also be required
to secure the amount of bail with collateral such as real property (house), savings
account, stock account, letter-of-credit, etc…
Bail bonds requiring a signature only are based on the credit worthiness of the
co-signer, seriousness of the charge(s), and the arrest history of the defendant.
In summary, the differences between posting bail directly and obtaining a bail bond:
Upon completion of case
Cash, certified check, personal check, CC
Depositor liable for total bail amount.
No premium paid.
Money returned to the depositor.
Contract, collateral, premium
Co-signer liable for total bail amount.
Premium paid. (non-refundable)
Bail bond exonerated and collateral (if any) returned.
Failure to Appear
Once a person fails to appear in court on a scheduled appearance date the bail or
bail bond may be forfeited by the court. In addition, a bench warrant will be issued
for the person’s arrest and a notice of the forfeiture will be mailed to the depositor
or bail bond agency.
Upon notification, the depositor should contact the defendant and have them appear
in court immediately. The money deposited for the person released on bail may be
lost if the defendant fails to appear within the prescribed time by law of 180 days
in the State of California.
Furthermore, once the defendant appears in court, it is the judge’s discretion to
reinstate the bail or take the defendant into custody. The defendant must have a
very good excuse and show just cause for failing to appear. Having the wrong date,
over-sleeping, car problems, are not sufficient excuses.
If the defendant is taken into custody, the depositor of bail or the co-signer on
the bail bond will be relieved of the liability. The bail money deposited with the
court will be returned to the depositor and the bail bond in forfeiture status will
be reinstated and exonerated by the court, relieving the co-signer of his or her
obligation to the bail bond.
If the defendant appears in a timely manner and the judge reinstates his or her
bail, the defendant’s court case will continue as planned and the depositor of bail
or co-signer on the bail bond will not experience a loss.
Note: If a forfeiture occurs on a bail bond, the bail bond agency must provide a
reassumption of liability to the court. Otherwise, the defendant will be taken into
custody and the bail bond will be exonerated relieving the co-signer of their obligation
to the bond.
The co-signer and bail bond agency work together, making sure that all contractual
obligations and state laws regarding bail are adhered to. Both parties have an interest,
to ensure the appearance of the defendant in court. Below are actions that can be
taken by the co-signer and/or bail bond agency.
- Surrender the defendant
- Revoke bail for any reason
- Apply restrictions to defendant
Right to Arrest
The bail agent has the right to arrest under the authority of law which can be traced
to the Common Law of England. Once an individual fails to appear in court as so
ordered, and without just cause, that court forfeits the bail bond. At this point
in time, the individual has breached his or her contractual agreement and can be
surrendered under the bail laws of that state.
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