Bail Costs in California
In the state of California, the bail bonds industry is regulated by law. A bail bond fee of 10%, is the percentage which is set by the California Department of Insurance, and is a percentage of the full bail amount. For example, if the bail is $10,000, the 10% fee will be $1,000.
Both bail bonds companies, as well as agents, must be licensed in the state of California, and also with the California Department of Insurance. This license permits agents, and agencies to assist those seeking a bail bond in order to have a defendant released from custody. Most companies require the 10% premium up front, however, there are some who will make an exception for those who can demonstrate good credit. It is imperative for clients to ensure that the bail bondsmen, or bail bonds agency that they are going to deal with, are fully licensed and operating legally. Any bail bondsman or bail bonds firm who offer bail bond fees less than 10%, are in violation of Californian law, and acting illegally. It is always advised to check with the Better Business Bureau before committing to any bail bondsman, or bail bonds agency, to ensure they are legal, and trustworthy.
In some cases, a bail bond agency may require collateral as an assurance that a defendant will keep their court appearance dates. This can often be made in the form of cash, or real estate property. Once a case has been finalized, the collateral must be returned.
Bail bond payments are typically paid prior to the release of a defendant. There are a few different options for payment that bail bonds agencies accept, however, they can differ from agency to agency. Due to this, it is advised to ensure you are aware of what payment methods are acceptable to your chosen bail bonds agency. There are some bail bonds corporations that will permit you to agree to a payment plan, which ultimately takes the stress off having to find a large sum of money up front.
If you can enter in to a payment plan, as a co-signer, (also known as the indemnitor) you will be willingly taking responsibility for the defendant. This includes ensuring the defendant appears before the court when required. In the event the defendant skips bail, you will then also be financially responsible for the entire amount of the bail.