In November 2020, California’s Money Bail Reform bill (“Proposition 25”) was defeated. Thus, cash bail is still the sole legal method to avoid pretrial incarceration. Simply put, an alternative would be more oppressive, and result in power imbalances at the courts.

  1. How Bail is Set: As is custom, those with low-level offenses have two places for bail-related appearances in succession. Bail can be set immediately by the officer-in-charge of the detention center, where the accused is held in custody. Alternatively, bail is set during a defendant’s first court appearance, which is the preliminary hearing in front of a local magistrate.
  • In both cases, initial bail amounts are based on a County’s bail schedule, which has standardized preset bail amounts depending on the offense alleged.
  • County judges are constitutionally required to prepare and frequently revise a uniform countywide bail schedule for all bailable offenses, and to ensure its implementation.
  1. Court Hearing: Overdependence on such schedules prevents meaningful opportunities to contest bail amounts. Defendants can make oral applications for bail lower than the scheduled amount at their first court appearance.
  • However, the court has the right to unlimited discretion in evaluating such applications for modifying the original amount. They take into consideration terms and conditions which they deem appropriate.
  • The law provides minimal guidelines or oversight in such situations. The Penal Code prioritizes public safety as the primary factor. Other factors considered are the gravity of the alleged crime, criminal history, and flight risk of the defendant.
  1. Get Bailed Out: No matter how high the bail is set, there is a reasonable limit the court should follow. In difficult cases, 24/7 bail bonds services in Ventura County can help you pay the hefty amount. The bondsman will take care of the bail application, from filling out paperwork to ensuring your unconditional release within a few hours.
  • Such an arrangement has no strings attached and is legally recognized in California. Experienced licensed bondsmen have well-established relationships with local law enforcement, particularly detention center officials, to help create a strong case for speedy bail.
  • Studies have shown that courts often deviate from official schedules, regardless of the severity of the charge. These schedules are seen as mechanical formulae and judges apply their liberty on a case-by-case basis. Unscheduled bail was rampant, and bail setting had no purpose except to inform the defendant of the charges against them.
  1. New Laws: Thus, California attempted a remedy to institute a formal bail appeal. Now, an individual detained for a bailable offense is entitled to an automatic review of the bail amount by the proper jurisdiction. The defendant also has the choice to waive this review.
  • Numerous district court cases have reaffirmed this right: “A defendant is entitled to one automatic review of the order fixing the amount of bail…”
  • The review is automatic and held within five days of the initial bail determination, offering defendants much-needed respite.

In August 2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Money Bail Reform Act into law. The Act intended to eliminate legal guidelines for pretrial release and detention, to abolish cash bail in California. However, it ultimately did not come into force, and bail remains the sole option to walk free before your trial. Don’t let it be a barrier, and immediately contact a reliable bondsman for a quick, inexpensive deal that guarantees your freedom.