If you have been charged with an offense in Laguna Beach, spending time in custody can be a nightmare. And if you land in jail, you need to think of how to attend to your responsibilities and get out of jail. Fortunately, you are legally innocent until proven guilty, and the court can release you from custody until your trial or hearing date. The court will demand you to arrange for an agreement that promises your return to court. This agreement is known as a bail bond, and it's available through reliable bondsmen like Laguna Beach Bail Bonds.
Bond vs. Bail
The terms bond and bail are used interchangeably when talking about jail release. Although used interchangeably, they aren't the same thing. Bail is the money paid by a defendant to get out of custody. Bonds, on the other hand, are posted on the defendants' behalf to secure their release.
It is essential to understand that bail isn't a punishment. Instead, it is an agreement where you agree to comply with specific terms and conditions as well as appear in court. In other words, bail can be likened to collateral or security left with the court to make sure that you appear in court for your court proceedings after your release. If you fail to show up or break the conditions of your release, the amount paid is forfeited.
Understanding How Laguna Beach Bail Bonds Work
Arrest and Booking
When police arrest you, they will take you into custody. Typically, you will be taken to a criminal processing center or jail for booking. There are instances the law enforcers may release you without pressing charges. However, if charged, you will be required to stay in jail until the judge releases you on bail or imposes a judgment.
Booking is an administrative process where the police will perform tasks like:
- Taking your photo
- Record personal information (age and name)
- Take fingerprints
- A health evaluation
- Look for warrants
- Take your possessions and keep them in a storage facility
Once the law enforcers have booked you, one of the following will occur. First, the law enforcement officers can release you with a notice to show up in court. Secondly, you can be released after paying bail. Third, you can remain in jail until you attend the bail hearing.
Well, the law decides which option applies in a given status quo. For instance, if charged with a serious offense, you will remain in jail until the bail hearing is held.
When the bail hearing is held, the court decides the case's total bail amount. It is worth noting that the court can also deny bail. The court uses the following factors when determining the bail amount:
- Flight risk- Defendants facing long incarcerations are likely to flee compared to those with less severe penalties.
- Family obligations- the judge will order lesser bail bonds amounts to defendants responsible for their family's well-being.
- Community connections- a defendant who has a business or whose entire family lives in Laguna Beach, is less likely to fail to appear in court compared to a visiting defendant.
- Criminal History- a defendant with a criminal history, particularly that that involves missing court hearings has a higher bond amount compared to the defendant with no history. The court could deny them bail entirely.
- Public safety- If your release poses a safety or health risk to your community, the judge will refuse to grant bail.
- The seriousness of the offense- Generally, serious crimes will attract a higher bail amount compared to a less severe crime.
Bail Terms and Conditions
When making the bail determination, the court will also impose conditions that you must adhere to. Violation of these conditions could result in bail forfeiture or police keeping you in jail until trial. Common conditions include:
- Pretrial check-ins- you are supposed to make frequent check-ins with a pretrial services officer. The officer will monitor you to ensure that you are abiding by the conditions.
- No-contact order- if charged with offenses such as making threats or domestic violence, the judge could order you to avoid getting in touch with the victim.
- Firearm limitation- The judge may also require you to stop possessing any firearms regardless of whether the charges involved use of firearms or not.
- Employment- the court will require you to continue maintaining your job while on bail. In an event, you are unemployed; the judge can ask you to attempt finding a job.
- Drugs and substance use- another bail condition is ordering defendants, especially those with drug possession and driving under the influence charges to stop consuming alcohol or drugs.
- Travel Limitation- It is unlawful for you to leave your local area unless permitted by pretrial services officers or the court.
Bail Payment Procedure
For you to make bail payments, you need to go to jail or courthouse, and a clerk or cashier will receive the payments. You should provide the cashier with information like the accused name, bail amount, and booking number.
Once the clerk receives the payment, they will ask the police keeping the accused in custody to release the accused. If the clerk or cashier is situated within the same location as the jail, the release will happen almost immediately.
You can make bail payments in the form of cash or any other accepted method like cashier's check, money order, credit card, or traveler's check.
Various Types of Bails
Discussed below are different types of bonds in California.
Provided you have enough money to cover the entire bond amount; you will be released from police custody. If you don't have the full bail amount, another person could pay the bail on your behalf.
Own Recognizance Bond
Sometimes the judge can release a defendant from custody on their own recognizances. Own recognizance bond happens after the bail hearing is held. If the judge allows it, you are released from jail with a condition to comply with all conditions imposed and to appear in court.
Property or Secured bonds
A secured bond is bail that you surrender to the court as collateral interest in an asset whose worth is equal to the full bail amount. Failure to appear in court could result in the court seizing the asset to recover the unpaid amount.
Laguna Beach Bail Bonds
Laguna Beach Bail Bonds are bail payments made by a bondsman on the defendants' behalf. When you use a bondsman, you pay the bail bond agent a fee. In return, the bondsman will function as a guarantee, telling the judge that they will take care of the entire bond amount should you fail to show up in court.
Bondsmen make profit by collecting fees from those in need of bail. Typically, this fee known as a premium, is ten to fifteen percent. For instance, if your total bail amount is $25,000, you will pay the agent $2,500 to serve as your surety.
Typically, your bondsman will require you to offer collateral against the bail bond.
What Happens if Fail to Show Up in Court?
If you fail to appear in court or adhere to the conditions imposed by the court, the total bail amount paid will be forfeited. For instance, if you paid $500 as your bail, you risk losing the $500 if you skip the court hearing. Similarly, if a bondsman pays bail bonds for the defendant, they forfeit the whole amount if the defendants misses the court hearing. If an asset was used as collateral, the court could foreclose or repossess the property.
Fortunately, all is not lost. The judge can still reinstate bail. All you have to do is file a petition to reinstate your bail with the court. However, you should prove that you had a compelling reason like a medical emergency for missing court.
Getting your Money from a Bondsman
When defendants use a bondsman to post bail bonds, the defendants should pay the bail bond agent a fee as well as surrender collateral. If you abide by the terms and conditions, the bondsman will return the security used once the case is closed. However, the bondsman fee (can be ten to fifteen percent of the bail amount) isn't refunded irrespective of the outcome.
If you used a bondsman service and fail to show up in court, the bondsman will try to locate you and take you back into custody. Typically, the court will give the bail bond agent 180 days to locate you. If the bail bond agent returns you to the court within the 180-days window, the court won't require your bondsman to take care of the whole bail amount.
It is worth noting that your bondsman can use bounty hunters to locate you. Like bondsmen, bounty hunters are not law enforcers but can apprehend and arrest a person who used a bail bond. This is because you agreed in the contract to permit the bondsman or bounty hunter to enter your home and arrest you.
Find a Renowned Laguna Beach Bail Bonds Agent Near Me
When you have been charged with an offense in Laguna Beach, the court could allow you to await your court hearing in the comfort of your home provided you post bail. Unfortunately, the total bail amount needed can be more than what your family can afford. That means you could end up spending time in custody. This is where bondsmen come in, helping you get access to bail bonds you require to be released from police custody. At Laguna Beach Bail Bonds, we understand how overwhelming and confusing the experience can be. Therefore, we strive to offer the best possible services. Call us today at 323-579-1415 to get the help you need.