Bail secures a defendant’s release from custody and is designed to ensure he/she honors all court appearances. After an arrest, a suspect will be arraigned in court to plead guilty or not guilty to the charges presented by the prosecution. The judge will then set bail, which is a payment that allows the defendant to resume his/her daily activities, including work, classes, and time with loved ones as they prepare for court.
At Bail Bonds Company, we assist defendants in resuming their daily lives by offering bail bond services. Our West Covina bond dealers are available 24/7 and ready to help you, or a loved one secure release.
Bail is the sum of money you post with the court to secure your release from jail. The courts use bail to ensure defendants show up for future court dates. Bail is not the only way to guarantee your attendance at future court dates. Furthermore, not all court cases are bailable.
Judges exercise discretion on whether to issue bail for the charges presented by prosecutors. It is worth pointing out that whereas the judge sets bail, the county bail schedule that sets the bail sum for each crime guides the judge’s decision. Thus, bail varies county by county and depends on the offense.
In non-violent crimes, if the defendant has no priors, a judge could be inclined to release the defendant on their own recognizance (O.R. release). The defendant is released without paying bail but with a written commitment to honor future court dates.
Judges can deny bail. This happens in two situations, namely:
- The defendant is accused of committing a violent crime, and his/her release could compromise the community's safety.
- When defendants violate the terms of their bail release, the judge can revoke bail and deny any subsequent bail request — Bail release is a conditional release. Judges issue conditions for your release, including those suggested by your attorney. Violating these conditions could lead to revocation of your bail and denial of subsequent bail requests. These conditions include:
- House arrest and electronic monitoring
- Isolation with zero contact with the alleged victim in your case
- Wearing a Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor (SCRAM) to prove your sobriety
- Surrendering your passport or driver’s license
- Installing an IID (Ignition Interlock Device) that prevents you from starting your car if it detects any alcohol in your breath or
- Remaining state-side until your case is heard and determined
West Covina Bail Bonds Process
The bail process in West Covina starts with an arrest. Once arrested, individuals are taken to the police station for booking. Police officers then take the individual’s mugshot and fingerprints and conduct background checks to determine if he/she has any outstanding warrants.
Prosecutors then take over. They present the charges for the crimes the individual was arrested for at the arraignment stage. It is during this initial appearance in court that the judge sets bail. This is the stage where West Covina bail bondsmen come in.
Bail amounts are significantly high. Most defendants will find it hard to raise the bail amount. Bail bond agents offer to pay the sum on your behalf at a non-refundable fee equivalent to 10% of the bail sum.
Bail agents will require some basic information. They will ask for your name, date of birth, the jail location, the offense you are charged with, the bail sum, and future court dates.
Note: Bail bonds require an assurance that you will pay. Some West Covina bail bond companies accept assets like jewelry or equipment as collateral. Most need a co-signer’s property, like his/her car or house, as collateral. Bail agents repossess the collateral should you fail to honor the court dates and the courts forfeit the bail bond.
Once the bail agent pays your bail, you will be released from jail.
Co-signers in the Bail Process
It is crucial to consider a few issues before you decide to cosign a bail bond.
Co-signers guarantee that defendants appear on their scheduled date and pay fines as mandated. As a co-signer, you are responsible for the entire sum of the bail bond. Failure by the defendant to show up will result in losing your property attached to the bail agreement to recover the forfeited bail bond.
You can revoke your commitment as a co-signer in a bail agreement. If you are concerned about a defendant's likelihood of not appearing in court as mandated, you could communicate your concerns and desire to terminate your commitment in the agreement to the bail bond agency or the courts. The contract will be rescinded, and the defendant will be imprisoned, awaiting their hearing.
Before appending your signature to a bail bond agreement as a co-signer, you should consider a few issues.
The Defendant’s Reliability
Saying no to family and friends can be a challenge. However, bail bond agreements are legally binding, and you risk losing your property should the defendant fail to appear in court. Therefore, only agree to cosign a bond agreement with a responsible defendant whom you can trust to honor their commitment.
Bail Bond Agreement
Details matter. Thus, going through a bail bond agreement is in your best interest before signing. Seek clarification on any issues arising from the contract.
Understand the Personal Responsibility of Beng, a Co-signer
Since a co-signer risks losing his/her property, they are responsible for making sure the defendant adheres to the conditions of his/her release. Other than ensuring the defendant honors the court dates, co-signers take all necessary steps to prevent the defendant from committing any offenses or violating any other condition set for their release.
As a potential co-signer, it is in your best interest to appreciate the risk of losing your property. While trusting the defendant to adhere to the conditions of his/her release, it is also good to consider the downside: the defendant failing to honor the terms of the release. Only agree to cosign a bail bond if you accept the risk of losing your property if the courts forfeit the defendant's bail.
Qualifying for West Covina Bail Bonds
Qualifications for bail bond applicants vary from one bail bond agent to another. However, most West Covina bail bondsmen require that you be a California resident, work in California, or that your co-signer be a resident of the county you were arrested in, in this case, Los Angeles County.
Additionally, your co-signer should provide proof of residency by attaching recent utility bills or their car’s registration and a California ID. The co-signer should have an income equal to or higher than the bail value. Alternatively, he/she must be a homeowner with adequate equity on the property to cover the full bail value and any fees owed to the West Covina bail bond agents.
Types of Bail Bonds
You can post bail in three ways:
- Cash bail
- Bail bond
- Property bond
Courts allow defendants to post bail using cash. You will have to post a cashier’s check for the value of the bail. You can also use your credit card to post bail. Most cash bail sums range from $10,000 to $100,000. The value is significantly high, and most individuals are unlikely to pay the sum.
You will lose the cash deposited for your bail if you fail to appear for your court sessions. However, the courts will refund the sums at the end of your trial if you attend all court dates.
Bail bonds, also called surety bonds, are convenient, especially if you do not have the cash to secure your release. Additionally, they are a better alternative since bail bonds do not significantly affect your finances as cash bails do.
Bail bonds are contractual agreements in which the bail agent undertakes to secure the defendant’s release from prison by paying his/her bail for a premium. On the other hand, if the defendant commits to appear in court as mandated. Should they fail to appear and the court forfeits the posted bail, the bail bond agent will repossess the asset attached to the bond agreement.
Forfeiture and repossession are tedious processes. Whereas it is your responsibility as a defendant to attend court sessions as mandated, West Covina bail bondsmen will remind you to attend on and before the actual date to avoid the forfeiture and repossession process.
A property bond is the bail option of last resort. West Covina courts allow defendants to secure their release using their real estate properties. Defendants post equity interests in real property as a commitment to attend all court proceedings.
For example, if bail is set at $100,000, the court must be satisfied that the property's equity value posted as bail is at least $200,000.
Further, the courts require that the defendant disclose any liens on the property, a recent appraisal of the property, and a professional estimate of the property’s equity.
What is a Bail Hold
A bail hold, or a PC 1275 hold, is a type of detention courts place on defendants. It allows police officers to detain a defendant for an additional 48 hours pending further investigations. Bond dealers cannot post bail during this period. Defendants remain in jail until the hold expires or a judge lifts the hold.
Additionally, courts impose a bail hold because of a reasonable belief that the money used to secure a defendant’s release is a proceeds of crime, for example, cash generated from the sale of controlled substances.
You can challenge a bail hold at a PC 1275 court hearing. At the hearing, you bear the burden of proving the sum posted is from legitimate or ”clean” sources and not from illegal activity. You make your case by the preponderance of the evidence. Under this evidentiary standard, you are required to show that it is more likely that the bail money is clean than not true. To help prove the money is legal, you can provide the following as evidence.
- Tax returns
- Bank statements for the last six months
- Six month’s pay stubs
- Credit card statements, and
- Sales transactions
- Loan agreements
You can also present witnesses to testify at the hearings to support the legal nature of the sum in question.
Removal of a Bail Bond
Courts will remove the PC 1275 hold and release you under the authorized bail sum should you successfully prove the bail money was legally generated. Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney and a West Covina bail bondsman improves your chances of removing a bail hold.
Failure to Appear in Court
Failure to appear (FTA) is an offense. If your underlying crime is a misdemeanor, your failure to appear is also a misdemeanor. If the underlying offense is a felony, your failure to appear is a felony. In both cases, a judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. The bench warrant will be issued whether you posted bail or were released under personal recognizance (O.R. release).
Failing to appear will result in bail forfeiture. The court forfeits the money posted as bail. However, courts only forfeit the amount if the defendant is absent or fails to present him/herself in court within a stipulated time. This informs the bail bond company’s decision to repossess the asset(s) signed as collateral.
Note: Once a judge issues a bench warrant for your arrest, bounty hunters could seek to enforce the arrest for a portion of the bond. They have the authority to arrest defendants and present them to the authorities.
Courts can vacate bond forfeitures and exonerate the bond if you appear before the courts within 180 days of the forfeiture date and with a valid reason. These include:
- You suffered an injury and were hospitalized
- You suffer from mental illness
- You did not sign an agreement to show up in court
- You were disabled or became disabled, thus preventing you from attending
- You were in custody in another jurisdiction
- You have an emergency
The court will issue jail sentences and fines based on the offense if you are found guilty of failing to appear. You risk serving the following penalties for failing to appear. Based on the law you violated,
a) Penal Code 853.7
A failure to appear under PC 853.7 is a misdemeanor violation punishable by a jail sentence of up to six months or a fine of up to $1,000 or both.
b) Penal Code 1320
If your underlying offense is a PC 1320 violation and your failure to appear is a misdemeanor, the offense is punishable by up to six months in jail. If convicted of a felony, the judge will send you to prison to serve a three-year sentence.
c) Penal Code 1320.5
Failure to appear under PC 1320.5 is a felony offense. You will receive a jail sentence of up to three years and a maximum fine of $10,000.
d) Vehicle Code 40508
Violations of VC 40508 result in tickets or citations requiring you to appear in court. If you fail to appear, you risk spending up to six months in jail or a maximum fine of up to $1,000 for the misdemeanor offense.
Additionally, drivers could lose their driving privileges for up to thirty days.
Vehicle Code 40509.5 issues additional penalties for violations of VC 40508. The DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) will put a hold on the driver’s license for failing to appear for a citation or ticket. This hold remains in effect until the driver appears in court and pays the fine over and above the driver’s license suspension.
What Happens If You Bail Someone and They are Rearrested?
Bail is crime specific. A judge issues a new bail for the subsequent crime, even when an individual out on bail commits another crime and is arrested for the offense.
If the defendant secured a bail bond to guarantee their release and needs another bond to secure release for a subsequent offense, the first bond will not be refunded. The defendant will have to part with 10% of the succeeding bail sum to secure their freedom.
The subsequent bail bond application is independent of the first. Therefore, new collateral will be attached to the new bail bond agreement.
Jail and Courthouse Information
West Covina Jail
Los Angeles County Superior Court - East District - West Covina Courthouse
Contact a West Covina Bail Bondsman Near Me
Working with an experienced bail bond dealer is advantageous when you or someone you care about has been arrested. Every situation is different, and your case's circumstances affect the bail bond agreement. It is, therefore, best to consult a bondsman for assistance.
The Bail Bonds Company offers bail services to individuals arrested in West Covina. We operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Contact us today at 323-579-1415 for assistance.