“Bail” is the money that one must post with the court to be released from jail. It helps ensure the court that future court appearances will be attended. In many cases, the judge will release an inmate on their own recognizance. When this happens, no bail need be posted. There are some crimes where a judge can deny the right to post bail but in most circumstances, bail is required.
The amount of bail differs depending on the crime involved. All counties in California have their own bail schedules that state the bail amount for each crime. The judge ultimately sets bail and has discretion to deviate from the bail schedule depending on criminal history, potential for posing a flight risk, and the facts of the specific case.
Bail can be posted through cash bail, through a bail bond, and through a property bond. To be released on cash bail, the full amount of bail must be posted with the clerk of the court or the arresting agency. A full refund will be awarded after all court appearances have been made. A bail bondsman will post bail in exchange for a non-refundable premium which the law in California sets at a maximum of 10%. Property bonds are rarely utilized because they allow a court to place a lien on one’s property.