California Bail, Bail Bonds and Bail Bondsman
Although bail and bail bonds exist in all fifty states, each state has its own set of laws, statutes and
licensing requirements. In the state of California there are two entities that set bail bond laws and
regulations: California Insurance Department and California Penal Code. In essence, California Insurance
Department licenses and regulates bail bond agents, while the California Penal Codes sets forth all of the
laws allowing and governing the use of bail.
Bail is an amount of money set by the presiding court or magistrate to guarantee that the defendant will
appear in court to face legal proceedings for the crimes charged. The amount of bail charged will vary
greatly depending on the crime, prior convictions and flight risk of the defendant. Some charges such as
capital offenses are ineligible for bail. Under California law, all misdemeanors are eligible for bail.
Regardless of whether the person charged is ultimately found guilty or innocent, the amount of the bail
paid is refunded by the courts at the conclusion of the legal proceedings. Failure of the defendant to
appear in court on scheduled dates results in issuance of a warrant for arrest and forfeiture of the bond
amount to the state of California.
The purpose of bail is to allow for the legal right of "innocent until proven guilty" guaranteed by the Fifth
Amendment of the United States Constitution without incarceration of an individual prior to
determination of guilt or innocence. On the other side of the coin, the courts whose job it is to enforce
and administer the law need some guarantee that the accused will be present in court to face charges
and provide a defense. Hence the bail schedule is set to reflect that balance between the risk of harm to
society due to the nature of the crime and the individual's legal rights. However it is up to the discretion
of the court to determine the bail amount using the bail schedule set by county of the court as only a
form of guidance. If a defendant or his or her attorney feels that bail is excessive, they can file a motion
for reduction of bail and if not granted make an appeal to that or another court for appeal for bail
In those cases where a defendant cannot make bail, he or she can make use of bail bondsman or agency
to post bail. A bail bondsman is an essence an insurance agent that covers the cost of a defendant's bail
for a set fee. He or she is insuring that the defendant will appear in court to face due process related to
the charges filed. The set fee in the state of California is 10% percent but can be lower or higher
depending on the bail bondsman.
A bail bonds is also sometimes referred to as a surety bond especially in those cases that involve the use
of collateral to secure payment of the bond amount. Not all bail agents accept collateral for payment of
the 10% fee. Some agents will offer payment plans that involve an agreed upon schedule for fee
Orange County Bail Bonds, located across the street from the Orange County jail facility, is a family
owned and operated Orange County bail bond service and has been serving the bail bonds
needs of Californians since 1963. To locate an inmate in Orange County click here.