How Bail Works
website link The Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution states:
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Bail is a service mandated through the Constitution of the United States and the State of California to allow people accused of crimes to remain free until their trial. It is far easier for people accused of crimes to prepare their defense while out of custody, so bail is a benefit that allows people to ensure that when they have their day in court that they have all the information they need to protect themselves and their freedom. Once the bail amount is paid the accused person can leave jail, but with the promise of returning for their next court appearance. If they fail to do so or “skip” bail, they forfeit the amount of money they paid to the court and further endanger their case and their freedom.
The most common type of bail requires a set amount of money or property given to the court in order to secure the release of a person accused of a crime. This amount of money is begins with a predetermined amount for each crime as determined by a document called a “bail schedule.” These documents lay out the bail for thousands of crimes from fishing without a license to aggravated assault to credit card fraud. Some particularly serious crimes do not allow bail, or a judge may declare that a person is a flight risk, which means that if released on bail the accused may flee prosecution and not return. Judges have a great deal of leeway in setting the amount of bail, so every case is different.
Depending on the alleged crime, bail can be extremely expensive, and not everyone has the checking account to pay the court thousands of dollars to get out of jail. Bail bonds are the best option for anyone who has a loved one in jail and needs to get them out. By paying a small percentage of the bail to a bail bondsman, usually around 10%, the bail bondsman secures the release of the person from jail. The bondsman pays the rest of the bail themselves, so they take great care in making sure their client shows up for trial, otherwise they forfeit all the bail money they paid.