Some criminal defendants must provide a deposit, called bail, to ensure that defendants report to any scheduled court appearances. Bail is not a fine or a punishment, and amounts vary depending on the charges’ severity. If you’re posting bail so you or a loved one can get released from jail, you may wonder what the process entails and how long it takes. Let’s look more closely at what happens after you post bail and what you should expect.
How Does Bail Work?
To get released from jail, you or someone acting on your behalf must deposit the full bail amount with the court clerk or arresting agency. If you attend all your court appearances, you’ll receive a full refund 60 to 90 days following your case’s resolution. If you fail to appear, you forfeit your money to the court. The judge may also issue a warrant for your arrest.
All California counties have different schedules that stipulate the bail amount for each type of crime. Provided the crime is not violent or serious, the judge will often release you on your own recognizance, which means you do not need to post bail if you promise to attend future court appearances.
If you are securing bail for another person – whether you pay the full premium or collect contributions from others to post the bond – you become the cosigner. In this role, you are promising to ensure the defendant makes all their court appearances. If the defendant fails to appear in court, you may be held liable.
Conditions of Bail
California law grants judges a great deal of leniency to deviate from the bail schedule, depending on your criminal history and the specifics of your case. If you get released with or without bail, you may still have to comply with various requirements as a condition of remaining out of custody while your case is pending. These may include:
- Frequent online, phone or in-person check-ins with a probation officer or designated agency
- Travel or driving restrictions or prohibitions
- Electronic monitoring
- Ignition interlock device
- House arrest
- Order to surrender all weapons to law enforcement
- Completion of an accredited mental health or substance abuse treatment program
Getting out on Bail
How long does it take to get released from jail after posting bail? There is no set time period. Instead, the answer varies from one day to the next, due to the different factors involved in releasing a defendant from jail. For example, the process involves a lot of paperwork. The officer overseeing the release must check to ensure they aren’t releasing a defendant with a separate warrant out for their arrest, which can be time-consuming.
If you’ve posted bail for a loved one and the jail where they’ve been detained is processing a high volume of paperwork, you’ll need to wait longer for their release. Chances are, the court system is dealing with multiple arrests simultaneously, so it can take several hours in some cases and jurisdictions.
Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you want to learn more about posting bail for yourself or someone you care about, we offer experienced defense to people facing various criminal charges. Salvatore P. Ciulla has represented clients in Southern California for more than 35 years, and his experience has earned him various accolades. For experienced legal representation, contact us today.