Q. Do defendants have a right to bail?
A. Yes. The right to reasonable bail is guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the California Constitution (U.S. Const. 8th Amend., Cal. Const. Art.1, Sec.12). However, this right is not absolute, and bail can be denied for capital crimes and certain serious felony offenses, particularly if there is a substantial likelihood that the defendant's release would result in bodily harm to others.
Q. What is bail?
A. Bail is security and is usually in the form of a bond that is exchanged for the release of an arrested person as a guarantee of that person's appearance in court.
Q. What is a bail bond?
A. A bail bond is guarantee given by the bonding company to the court for the appearance of the defendant at all of his required court dates.
Q. What is a bail agent?
A. A bail agent is a person licensed by the California Department of Insurance to write bail bonds.
Q. How do I bail someone out?
A. Call us at (559) 268-2025 any time 24/7. The agent on duty will need the full name of the defendant, the name of the jail that he or she is in, and his or her date of birth or booking number. The agent will then contact the jail and find out what the charges are and the amount of bail. The agent will then call you back to tell you how much the bond will cost, what type of collateral will be required and arrange a meeting to fill out the required forms. You can expedite this process by printing out the application and filling it out prior to meeting the agent.
Q. How do I find out what the defendant is charged with?
A. Call us at (559) 268-2025 any time 24/7, and we can tell you what the defendant's charges are. If you want to learn more about the charges, you can look them up online at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html.
Q. How much does a bail bond cost?
A. We charge an annual fee equal to 10% of the defendant's bail, plus a flat per bond service charge of $15.00. This fee is called the premium. Thus, if a defendant's bail is $10,000, the premium would be $1,015.
Q. Do I get the premium back?
A. No. The premium is our fee, which we earn by taking the risk that the defendant will fail to appear for his court dates, which would then result in our company being forced to pay the bond.
Q. Do I have to pay the whole premium upfront?
A. No, under certain circumstances, you can pay as little as half of the premium upfront with the remaining balance paid in structured payments.
Q. What is a renewal premium?
A. The premium is due annually. Thus, if the defendants case lasts 1 ½ years, a renewal premium would be owed.
Q. What type of collateral is required to bail someone out?
A. It depends on many factors, including the amount of the bail and the nature of the charges, which are most important. Many smaller bonds can be written with the signature of just one indemnitor who is employed and has been working at their job for a year or more. Large bonds will require several indemnitors with good jobs and/or a deed of trust on property with sufficient equity to cover the amount of the bond and foreclosure costs, some amount of cash collateral or a combination of all of these.
Q. What is an Indemnitor?
A. A person who agrees to pay us for all of the losses on the bail bond including, but not limited to, forfeiture costs, investigator fees, unpaid premiums, attorney fees, foreclosure fees, interest and other costs. Indemnitor is synonymous with co-signer.
Q. What is a deed of trust?
A. A lien on real property for a specific amount of money.
Q. Will the lien be removed from my property?
A. Yes. It will be removed when the bond is exonerated, provided that the defendant has not forfeited and there is no premium owed. If the defendant does forfeit or premium is owed, your property will not be reconveyed until all premiums and expenses are paid, and your property may be foreclosed upon to pay these expenses.
Q. Will I get my cash collateral back?
A. Yes. It will be returned when the bond is exonerated, provided that the defendant has not forfeited and there is no premium owed. Even if the defendant does forfeit or premium is owed, you will still get your cash collateral back minus the expenses caused by the forfeiture or the premium owed.
Q. What happens if the defendant fails to appear in court?
A. The court will order the bail bond forfeited and California Best Chance Bail Bonds will have 185 days from the date of forfeiture to find the defendant and return him or her to court. Usually the defendant fails to appear due to mistake or inadvertence, and his bond can be reinstated provided that he contacts us immediately after his failure to appear. If he does not contact us immediately, i.e. usually within 30 days, after his failure to appear, we will assume that he or she has skipped bail.
Q. What if the defendant cannot be found within the 185 days?
A. Unless we can get an extension, we will have to pay the entire amount of the bond to the court. Thus, if we posted a $10,000 bond and the bond is not exonerated within 185 days, we will have to pay the entire $10,000 to the court. Of course we will execute on the collateral to recover this cost.
What is a bail skip?
A. A bail skip is a person out on bail who has failed to appear for one of his court dates. We hire skip tracers, also known as fugitive recovery agents, to locate skips and surrender them into custody.
Q. What is a skip tracer?
A. A skip tracer is a person who locates skips and surrenders them back into custody. Skip tracers are required by California Penal Code section 1299.04 to have certain minimal training. In addition to meeting this requirement, our skip tracers are also licensed private investigators.
Q. Can a skip tracer arrest a bail skip?
A. Yes. Pursuant to California Penal Code section 1301, we have the power to arrest defendants that have forfeited their bonds.
Q. What is an exoneration?
A. An exoneration is the court order which ends our liability on a bail bond.
Q. When does the court issue exonerations?
A. Usually, an exoneration is issued when the case is terminated by the defendant being acquitted, convicted and sentenced, or pleading guilty and being sentenced. An exoneration will also be issued if the defendant is surrendered within the forfeiture period or if the court made a procedural error sufficient for us to get an exoneration via a legal motion.