Everything You Need to Know About Bail and Release in California

bail and release in California

Facing any criminal charge can be a stressful and unnerving experience. However, when it comes to bail and release, those accused of a crime has statutory and Constitutional rights. Furthermore, a lawyer should be used to advise the accused in addition to friends and family on the best course of action regarding bail. In general, there are four ways to be released on bail pending trial in both state and federal cases.

While you should always consult your lawyer, consider factors like cost, the timeline, and restrictions. While it is in your best interest to always follow legal counsel, the following are fairly common in California cases. One key takeaway here is the following apply to state cases. It is the best practice to obtain legal counsel for any federal cases.

1. Bail Bonds

To post bail with a bond in California, it is typical to contact a bail bond agent. You will be responsible for paying a premium to the bond agent. You will also pay a security fee to the bail bond agent that is typically the total amount of the bail. The court, if necessary, will then set any restrictions or holds with the release. It is important to always pay attention to these restrictions as they are an integral part of adhering to the terms.

Pending the receipt of funds, the individual will then be released from jail. In order for the bond funds to be discharged at the end of the case, ensure that you meet all mandated court dates and appearances. Failure to do so could result in the forfeiture of these funds.

2. Cash Bail

Another option is for the arrested party, or friends and family, to post bail directly with the jail. Some jurisdictions also permit the use of credit cards. However, always make sure to do your research as it is not a universal practice. As with bonds, the amount will be returned to you at the end of your case. If you fail to appear in court or violate the terms of your release, you will forfeit the entirety of your bail to the state. While we encourage you to always heed the advice of legal counsel, read and understand all terms and restrictions associated with your case.

3. Property

If bail cannot be posted through bail bonds or cash, there is also real property instead. According to the Superior Court of California in Santa Clara County, this is defined as “pledging the value of real property to the court to guarantee the defendant will appear in court”. You will be required to provide proof of ownership of the aforementioned land through the procural of the land title. This is the most time consuming of the bail options and is typically reserved for cases with a higher set bail. If you choose to move forward with property, you may spend a few days in jail pending the court’s approval.

4. Federal Cases

In federal cases, it is paramount to heed all legal counsel provided by your lawyer. Also, federal charges are not the same as state charges. Therefore, you may have different restrictions or options.


While dealing with arrest is stressful, it is important to remember that you always have options for bail and release. This article was presented by Avvo’s “Bail and Release from Jail in California”. At Kersey Law, we are here to assist you with any legal matter and we urge you to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

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