Bail process in San Diego
A defendant arrested for a misdemeanor or felony could be taken to a number of facilities, including the San Diego Central Jail and the George Bailey Detention Facility. The procedure is the same at all facilities: a defendant is first processed into the facility and then allowed to make a phone call. That phone call will often trigger the jail release process, whether a defendant calls a friend or relative or a bail bond company. Defendants who have sufficient cash can almost immediately post bail if the amount has been set. That often happens almost immediately with the help of a county bond schedule, judges will often require a bond hearing to get more details on the crime before setting bail for a more serious offense.
Types of jail release in San Diego.
- Own recognizance. California law makes this an option, though it is usually reserved for defendants with no prior criminal history and for misdemeanors not involving physical violence. No bail is set; instead, the defendant signs an agreement promising to return for all court hearings. A skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to argue for a defendant to be granted an OR release.
- Cash bond. A defendant or co-signer can pay the entire amount of the bail in cash, which saves money on the 10 percent premium paid to bail bond agents. Some criminal defense lawyers recommend against a defendant putting up cash because it lead officials to suspect the money came from a criminal enterprise.
- Surety bond. This is the most common jail release option because many defendants do not have the money to pay the full amount of bail, even for a misdemeanor. Instead, a bail bond agent puts up the money and accepts a 10 percent premium from the defendant that is nonrefundable. A defendant who skips bail must pay the entire amount of bail – the same requirement for a co-signer that posts bail on behalf of a friend or loved one.
- Property bond. This option is the most time-consuming because a defendant must present paperwork that proves ownership of the property as well as equity in the property equal to twice the value of the bail. Generally, a recent appraisal is required. Property bonds are seen most often in cases in which the bail amount is very high - $100,000 or more.
Requirements for co-signers
Most bail bond companies require that co-signers have satisfactory credit and a connection to the community – often, a co-signer must have lived at least one year in the community to qualify. Of course, a co-signer must sign a contract promising to ensure that the defendant shows up for all court hearings. It is possible, however, for a co-signer to revoke the bail if there is a concern the defendant will skip bail. When a defendant does not show up in court, the co-signer is responsible for the entire amount of the bail.
Bond costs and options
California law regulates the bail bond industry and has imposed a ceiling on the premium agents can charge at 10 percent of the total bail amount. However, it’s possible to find some companies that charge less than that amount, particularly for military veterans or defendants represented by an attorney. Those types of defendants – historically – are more likely to show up for all court hearings.