Upon being processed at Central Station Jail, the officer booking you will tell you the crime you are being charged with and the amount of bail you will need to pay. The amount is non-negotiable as it is set by the county.
It is common for people to think posting bail is like paying a ticket. They believe that once they pay, they can forget the incident ever happened. But with bail, you still have obligations. Namely, you must appear at all court dates related to the charges. Failure to appear results in a loss of the bail money, a warrant for your arrest, and possible denial of bail in the future.
Post Bail Yourself or Hire a Bail Bondsman?
Posting bail on behalf of individuals in custody is our business, so you probably expect us to tell you never to post bail yourself. However, under the right circumstances, it is an excellent option. However, there are two things you should consider.
First, how long will it take to get the money you need together? For example, if you are arrested on the weekend and banks are closed, money will only be able to be accessed via ATMs, and they have daily limits. You could end up in custody for a few days before the money is ready to post bail, and chances are you will be transferred to a larger facility during this time.
Second, how long can you survive without the money? When you post bail, the courts hold onto the money until your case is closed as a way of ensuring that you will appear at all court dates. Some cases may be closed in a few months, but some cases stretch on for years. If you cannot go without the money for an indefinite period of time, it may not be a good idea to post bail on your own.
When you use a bail bondsman, these questions are not needed. You call us, we discuss payment options, and then you sign the paper and we post bail. We keep 10% of the bail money as your payment to us, or 8% in specific circumstances. While this money is kept by us, for most individuals, it is easier to go on without 10% of the bail amount permanently than it is to go without the full amount temporarily.
Failure to appear at future court dates means the bail money will be kept by the courts. Then a warrant will be issued for your arrest, and if you used a bail bondsman, they will collect on the loss.