Frequently Asked Questions

We know you have questions about how bail works. Here is a list of frequently asked questions we’ve received from folks over the years.

Once an individual is arrested and charged with a crime, chances are he or she will need a bail bondsman in order to gain freedom pending the outcome of the case. However, even with a bondsman on hand, not everyone can be released on bail. A judge may order No Bail for a defendant and Capital Crimes are generally not bailable offences.

California's highest court has ruled that judges in the state will have to consider a suspect's ability to pay when they set bail, a major decision that essentially requires that those who can't afford bail be freed unless they are deemed to dangerous to be released awaiting trial. This is another reason Acme Bail Bonds provides interest-free financing to our clients.

  • Cash Bail
  • Collateral Bail
  • OR (Own Recognizance) Bond
  • Bail Bondsman

If charges are not filed after the 72 hour period following your arrest, you will be released, but the state still reserves the right to file charges later, as long as they file charges within the statute of limitations.

The answer is no. Once a person is in prison, that is it. There is no way to get out except by expiration of sentence, or by death. Bail is used for staying out of jail while awaiting trial or sentencing for the crime.

The bail bonds man can sue anyone who signed the documents and promised to pay if there is money due still. If you signed the documents, you agreed to whatever terms they stated.

Those who are arrested for more serious crimes like murder or domestic violence will have to stay in jail until the bond hearing. Most states can’t hold suspects in jail more than 48 to 72 hours without filing charges against them.

Upon completion of your case, the judge will “exonerate” your bail bond in open court. At this point, the bail bond is no longer active but other financial obligations may still apply.

When a person is arrested they are typically taken to a police station where they are finger printed & photographed as part of the arrest process. Bail cannot be arranged until the booking process is complete.

In some cases, you may get your money back in as little as two weeks. However, it can easily take three times as long for a check cut by the court to reach you through the mail. If a refund takes any longer than six weeks, it's time to call the court and do some follow-up work.


In California, a bail bond generally costs 10%, as filed with the California Department of Insurance. Other rates may be available to you, ask your Bail Agent. The bail fee, or premium, is a non-refundable percentage of the total amount of the bail.

Your personal property can act as collateral when obtaining a bail bond without a cosigners / indemnitors. The collateral is held by a bail bondsman, and ultimately returned to you once you’ve made your appearance in court. No co-signer is needed to put up bail bond collateral.    

If you arrange for bail and sign a contract, you are known as the “cosigners / indemnitors”. Bail bond contracts are akin to insurance. By paying bail, you promise the courts that the person who was arrested will appear for their court date in exchange for being allowed to leave jail.

Even though paying for a bail bond won’t directly affect your credit score, it can have repercussions.  

If the defendant flees or refuses to go to court, the co-signer can contact the bail bond company and let them know where the defendant is so they can pick them up and take them to jail.   

The court requires the bail amount to be paid in full before you can be released from jail. The bail bondsman also guarantees the court that the full amount will be paid if you do not show up to your court appearances or you fail to pay the bond amount.   

If they flee or jump bail, as the signer, you are accountable and required to help the bondsman locate the defendant. If the defendant fails to show as ordered by the court, a warrant is issued for the defendant’s arrest and the bail amount is forfeited to the court.  

A bail bond is a contract, so the answer is yes. If you don’t hold up your end of the bargain, the bond company can remand you back into custody. Some conditions to apply.

Bail is simply an amount of money that is deposited with the court to ensure that you show up for all court proceedings. You can post your bail in cash with the court, and you will then be released from custody. If the defendant does not have enough cash to post the entire bail, the court will accept a bail bond.

The difference between bail and surety bonds is that bail involving cash bonds only require the involvement of two parties—the defendant and the court. Surety bonds however, require the involvement of three parties in the bailing process—the court, the defendant and the bail agent.

A surety bond in the case of making bail is the amount of money in cash or property to ensure the arrested person attends all required court appearances. The bond enables the person charged with a crime to be released from jail until his or her case is completed.

Surety companies will typically refund all unearned premium, however there are distinct situations that will cause a bond to be ineligible for a refund: the bond does not have a cancellation clause, therefore it cannot be cancelled mid-term and will have no unearned premium. The bail premium is fully earned upon the defendant's release from custody or jail.
The main purpose of the updated California bail law is to narrow the economic gaps in the criminal justice system.
  1. Resisting an executive officer
  2. Protective or stay away order violation
  3. Domestic violence
  4. Restraining order violations/ stalking
  5. Any offense requiring registration
  6. Driving under the influence
  7. Felon is possession of a firearm
  8. Assault with a deadly weapon
  9. Residential burglary
  10. Selling, furnishing or giving a minor listed drugs
  11. Throwing acid or flammable substances
  12. Discharging a firearm at a dwelling, vehicle or aircraft
  13. Shooting from a vehicle
  14. Intimidation of victims or witnesses
  15. Criminal threats
  16. Murder or voluntary manslaughter
  17. Rape
  18. Any felony punishable by life in prison
  19. Any felony where defendant personally inflicts great bodily injury
  20. Any felony where defendant personally used a firearm
  21. Arson
  22. Attempted murder
  23. Explosive device violations
  24. Kidnapping
  25. Continuous sexual abuse of a child
  26. Carjacking
  27. Weapon of mass destruction
  28. Human trafficking
  29. Pandering with a minor
Each county appoints a judicial committee that sets the standard bail amounts based on charges. This schedule allowing a person to be release from custody prior to a court appearance. Each county also has a Bail Deviation Program that permits the bail increase or decrease from the bail schedule based on certain circumstances. Your Bail Bond Agent does not have any impute into the bail amount.
If you don’t pay the bail bond premium, you are in violation of your contract. Even if the defendant isn’t due to go back to jail, the bond company can take you to civil court to request the remainder of the premium payment. Don't ignore the situation. Work with your bail agent to find a solution.
Some argue that Cash bail perpetuates inequities in the justice system that are disproportionately felt by communities of color and those experiencing poverty. Spending even a few days in jail can result in people losing their job, housing, and even custody of their children.

While both are a way for a person to be released from incarceration while awaiting trial, “bail” is a monetary amount set by a judge that a person must pay, and a “bond” is a promise, usually in the form of money paid by a bond company (sometimes referred to as a “bail bondsman”), who has been hired by a defendant.

California’s top court ends cash bail for some defendants who can’t afford it. Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies move inmates through the Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles in May 2019.

For a first time offender, bail cost can be as low as $2,500 but quickly can jump up to $10,000 for second and third offenses. Some states may also take quantity into account as well, and therefore determine intent to distribute. The latter means a higher bail cost, while a small amount may result in a lower cost.

To answer the question, yes — you can bail yourself out of jail. If you have the means to do so, then you can. When you turn to a bail bondsman in order to post bail, they’ll look at a few different things: Credit score.

“The lens of due process is going to be on every bail, because prosecutors are going to have to prove, by clear and convincing evidence, a flight risk or danger” if they seek to keep a lower-income suspect in custody.

When a bail amount is set at 0 – it means you are staying in custody. Zero bond – no numerical amount set so no bond can be posted.

Cash bail in California may soon become a thing of the past for misdemeanors and many non-violent felonies. … In a 28 to 8 vote, the state senate passed this wide-sweeping bill promising to restructure California’s criminal justice system, setting bail at zero for all misdemeanors and all “low-level” felonies.

A bail bond is a legal paper presented to the jail in return for the release of an arrestee. This paper instrument, once accepted by the jailer, assures the court the person who is named on the bond will appear as mandated. The bond will become payable to the courts, in its entirety, should forfeiture occur. Both parties, the agent and the indemnitor have certain financial liabilities from this point forward.

The California Department of Insurance has set a standardized 10% fee to all companies known as a Premium. A ‘Filed Rate’ with the Department of Insurance permits an 8% Premium to those who have legal counsel, and to those who are members of a Union or the Armed Forces.

The 10% is based on the total amount of the bond. For example, 10% of a $10,000 bond is $1,000. This is the fee charged by the bail company for a bond. It is non-refundable. The total bond amount will become due, if forfeiture occurs. The Premium is not deducted for the original amount and the Premium is the earned fee for the bail company.

A bench warrant is issued when a failure to appear in court occurs. To clear the warrant, the person must appear in court. Your bail company can prepare a motion to the courts for this purpose, and if all other court appearances are met (medical conditions are the exception) the bond will be exonerated. A bail company can be a filter between you and the courts. Some processes are within the normal scope of business for a bail company, such as filing a motion, or appearing in court with the defendant.

An arrest occurs, a charge is determined, and the bail amount is set according to that charge as outlined in the California Bail Schedule. That’s the fundamentals of the bail process. In between, there occurs a bail bond transaction with the bail company and the Guarantor / Indemnitor, or defendant to secure the bond before posting. You have the right to bail according to the US Constitution’s Eighth Amendment; exceptions are capital offense murder charges.

A bail bond company is important to use for these reasons. First, release time can happen quickly -any time of the day. Secondly, financial help is always available through a bail bond company- just ask. Last, the bail bond company can explain, in very easy terms, your charges and what to expect in court, as well as how bail works.

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