Whether you’re the accused who’s been arrested, or you’re the loved one trying to figure out how to get someone out of jail, the thought of initiating the bail bond process can be overwhelming. Many people don’t know what to expect when they take out a bail bond, and commonly wonder about factors such as bondsman ethics and issues of collateral. In today’s article, we’ll address some frequently asked questions about California bail bonds to help you better understand how they work.

At Future Bail Bonds in the San Bernardino area, we are committed to providing fast, affordable, and ethical bail bonds so that you and your loved ones can be reunited as quickly as possible. Complete transparency and 100 percent customer satisfaction are just a couple of the qualities we take pride in, and we’d love to help you out in your time of need. For questions, concerns, or to start the bail process, please contact us today at 909-990-5700.

What is a Bail Bond?

When an accused individual is arrested, bail will be set through various methods by the courts. In order for the arrestee to be released from jail, the bail amount must be paid. In some instances, this may require securing a type of bond known as a surety bond with the assistance of a bail bond company. Bail bonds are made as a financial guarantee that the accused will appear in court when required. In California, the bail bond industry, including application, licensing, renewal, and complaints, is overseen by the California Department of Insurance.

What Happens if the Defendant Misses Court?

If the defendant misses court, there is a potential that he or she may be arrested again, this time with additional charges and fines. California abides by a 180-day rule. This means that if the defendant skips court and is not found within 180 days or cannot give a compelling reason that explains his or her absence, the bail bond is lost. Additionally, any premium paid on the bail bond will be forfeited to the court and a summary judgement is likely to be made, requiring the bondsman to pay the full bail amount to the courts. If this happens, the bail agent will in turn require reimbursement from the co-signer or indemnitor of the bail bond. Any property held as collateral may be used as a form of payment towards satisfying the bond.

Can Bondsmen Solicit their Services?

The California Department of Insurance enforces complex bail solicitation laws to prevent bondsmen from poaching for business. Generally speaking, in order to be compliant with the solicitation laws, bail bondsmen must be solicited directly by the defendant or his or her attorney. If the accused is a minor, an adult friend or family member may also enlist the services of a bondsman on behalf of the defendant. There are very specific parameters that must be met in order for a bail bond agent to solicit bail from a defendant.

What is Collateral?

Collateral is any type of property or other valuable item that’s deposited with the bail bond company and held as a guarantee for repayment of a loan or debt. Every case is different and collateral is not always required. There are many items which may be presented as collateral, including cash, real estate, jewelry, cars, and other items of value

If you’re considering whether or not it is necessary to post some type of collateral in order to obtain a bail bond, contact a reputable bondsman like Future Bail Bonds. We’ll gladly answer any questions you have about the process.

Are Bail Bonds Expensive?

When you or a loved one is arrested and the bail amount is set very high, it’s easy to feel like you’re up against a wall financially. Many people don’t have the thousands of dollars necessary to post bail in one lump sum. Bail bonds provide an affordable solution to this problem. With fees established by surety companies and strictly regulated by the California Department of Insurance, most bail bonds may be secured with a 10 percent premium. This means that if your bail is set for $15,000, only $1,500 is required to secure your freedom.

What About Bondsmen Who Offer Discounted Premiums?

When searching for a reputable bondsman, people understandably search for the most affordable bail bond company, and there are many companies that promise discounted rates to drive more business. California Proposition 103 allows the state’s bail bond agents to negotiate lower fees by rebating. This allowance was also upheld in the 2004 ruling by the California Supreme Court in the Pacific Bonding Corporation v. John Garamendi case. The legal premium rate is 10 percent, but there are some reasons defendants may qualify for lower rates.

We always recommend you speak with your bail agent to make sure you completely understand the terms of the premium for your bail bond. If an agent offers lower than 10 percent premiums, it’s wise to request a fee breakdown to confirm the actual rate.

Are Bail Premiums Refundable?

Generally speaking, no. The premium paid to secure a bail bond is not refundable. It will only be considered for refund minus administrative costs if the defendant is surrendered. For more information, refer to California Code of Regulations (CCR) Title 10 §2090.

How Long is a Bail Bond Good For?

In California, bail bonds remain good for one year. If the accused trial lasts for longer than a year, the bond premium must be paid again to keep the bond active. Like the initial bond payment, subsequent payments to keep the bond current are non-refundable.

Where Can I Find a Reliable Bail Bond Agent?

A quick online search will yield endless results for local bail bond companies near you, but it can be challenging to know how reliable, ethical, and affordable their services are until you call to speak with them. It can be helpful to ask how long the company has been in business, if their agents are licensed by the California Department of Insurance, and whether or not they offer flexible payment plans for the bail premium.

If you’re in the San Bernardino area, contact Future Bail Bonds to schedule a free consultation to discuss your unique situation. We proudly serve the residents of Rancho, Fontana, Upland, and other nearby areas by providing innovative bail bond solutions. All of our agents are licensed and bonded, we’re available 24 hours a day, and reuniting families is our number one priority. Additionally, we offer bail information and court date reminders at no charge, as well as customizable payment plans designed to meet your specific needs.

To learn more, or get started, call us today at 909-990-5700.