Understanding Bail Options in Los Angeles: When and How You Can Post Bail After an Arrest


If you or a loved one has been arrested in Los Angeles, understanding the bail procedures is crucial to navigating the complexities of the legal system effectively. This guide provides a clear overview of how and when you can post bail, ensuring that you are well-informed about your rights and the steps you need to take. Our goal is to equip you with the knowledge to handle this challenging situation with confidence, tailored specifically to your circumstances in Los Angeles.

What is Bail and Why is it Required?

Bail is a financial guarantee required by the court to ensure that an accused individual will return for their scheduled court proceedings. This system serves a critical role in the judicial process by allowing defendants to remain free until the court resolves their case, thus maintaining their presumption of innocence. By posting bail, you commit to complying with the legal process and attending all required court appearances. This system balances the interests of the community in keeping potentially dangerous individuals off the streets and the rights of the individuals who may be innocent.

Immediate Steps After Arrest

Following an arrest in Los Angeles, the initial steps involve a comprehensive booking process that every detainee must undergo before bail considerations come into play. This process starts with fingerprinting to verify the identity of the arrested individual and check for outstanding warrants across various databases. Identity verification is crucial to ensure that the correct individual is being processed and that all records align accurately for upcoming court procedures.

The time it takes to complete this booking process can vary significantly based on the operational capacity of the facility, the specific details of the arrest, and the individual’s cooperation. Generally, the process can take anywhere from a few hours to a full day. This period is critical as it forms the foundational record for the case moving forward and influences subsequent decisions about bail and detention.

Determining Bail Eligibility

Bail eligibility in Los Angeles is primarily determined according to the Los Angeles County bail schedules, which outline specific bail amounts for a wide range of offenses. These schedules are designed to standardize the initial bail setting process, ensuring fairness and consistency across cases.

However, there are scenarios where bail is not an option. This typically occurs in “no bail” situations, which may involve:

  • Probation Violations: Individuals arrested for violating probation terms might be denied bail due to the immediate legal implications of their breach.
  • Serious Offenses: For major financial or violent crimes, including homicide or large-scale fraud, the court may order the individual to remain in custody without the option of bail. This decision is often influenced by concerns over the safety of the community or the risk of the individual fleeing to avoid prosecution.

How to Post Bail

Cash Bail: Posting cash bail directly at the jail involves paying the entire amount of the bail set by the court. This can be a substantial financial burden, as it requires upfront payment in full, which will be held by the court until the case is resolved. An alternative to posting cash directly is to employ the services of a bail bondsman, which is often more financially manageable. When using a bail bondsman, you pay a fee—usually 10% of the total bail amount—which is non-refundable. The bondsman then guarantees the full bail amount to the court, ensuring the defendant’s appearance at all scheduled court dates.

Bail Bonds: Opting for a bail bond involves entering into a contractual agreement with a bondsman who will ensure your appearance in court. The primary responsibility of the defendant here is to make all court appearances without fail. If the defendant fails to appear, the bondsman is liable to pay the full bond amount to the court, and they may seek to recover this amount from the defendant or through any collateral provided.

Property Bonds: In scenarios where raising cash is not feasible, property bonds become a viable option. To use this method, the property used as collateral must have enough equity (often at least 150% of the bail amount) to cover the bail and potential additional costs. The process involves assessing the property’s value and securing court approval, which can be more time-consuming than cash or bond options.

Posting Bail at First Court Appearance: Especially relevant in cases like white-collar crimes where defendants may not be immediately arrested, bail can often be arranged to be posted directly at the first court appearance. This can be orchestrated through prior negotiations between your defense attorney and the prosecution, agreeing on a bail amount that can be posted in court to prevent any custody. This strategy not only helps in maintaining discretion but also expedites the release process.

Reducing Bail or Own Recognizance Release

In Los Angeles, defense attorneys play a critical role in advocating for reduced bail or a release on their own recognizance (OR) for their clients. This negotiation is heavily dependent on the specifics of the defendant’s profile and the details of the case. To argue effectively for lower bail or an OR release, attorneys might present evidence that highlights the defendant’s strong community ties, stable employment, and a record of appearing at previous court dates, suggesting a low risk of flight.

Judges consider several key factors when deciding whether to reduce bail or grant an OR release:

  • Risk of Flight: The likelihood that the defendant will flee rather than face trial. Factors such as connections to other regions or countries, possession of travel documents, and previous instances of failing to appear in court influence this decision.
  • Community Safety: Judges assess the nature of the alleged offense, particularly whether it involved violence or poses a continuing threat to the community. The severity of the crime and the evidence presented against the defendant are crucial considerations.

Consequences of Failing to Appear in Court

Failing to appear for scheduled court dates after posting bail can have severe legal and financial consequences for defendants. This breach typically results in the forfeiture of any bail paid, whether it was posted directly or through a bail bondsman. Furthermore, the court will issue a bench warrant for the defendant’s arrest, which complicates their legal situation significantly and may lead to stricter conditions if they are taken into custody again.

Contact A Los Angeles Defense Attorney

Defense attorney discussing Los Angeles bail procedures with a client in a Los Angeles Navigating the bail process effectively requires the expertise of a skilled defense attorney. Arash Hashemi is well-versed in negotiating bail amounts and conditions tailored to each client’s unique situation, ensuring the best possible outcome from the moment of arrest through the resolution of your case. Understanding the bail process is critical for anyone facing criminal charges. Being well-informed about your legal options and the procedures that impact your case is vital. Our team is committed to providing clear, factual advice and strong legal representation.

If you need assistance with bail or require criminal defense services, please contact The Law Offices of Arash Hashemi at (310) 448-1529. Our office is located in the Westside Towers of Los Angeles, serving clients in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and Westwood. We are here to support you through your legal challenges with dedicated and professional legal services.

Write a Reply or Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.