To say that imprisonment is a hassle is an understatement. Because of the burdens that come along with it, everyone would want to spend as little time in incarceration as possible. No sane person wants to stay in prison. One of the most common ways to avoid, or at least temporarily stay out of, jail is to apply for bail.
In the state of California's legal system, a bail is defined as a court approved payment given to detainees for the privilege of release. However, he/she should still show up in court for future hearing and proceedings. If the judge sees it fit, he/she can deny your appeal for a bail. A bail can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars in cash.
After the proceedings are finished the bail is eventually refunded to the defendant. However, even if refunds exist, not everyone is still able to afford bails.
Bails are not universal; they are based on a wide variety of factors:
- The severity of the crime,
- The county where the trials are held,
- The background of the accused,
- The accused's criminal history,
- The specifics of the case.
- Immediate cash payment (cash bail),
- Bail Bonds, and
- Property Bond.
Cash bail is the easiest form of bail. In order to access the full privilege of this kind of bail, one must deposit the full amount's worth of the bail on the court clerk or the proper authority. Cash bails can be refunded if the accused managed to show on all the hearings and the charges are dismissed. If the bails are seen as suspicious, the court can hold the release and question the legitimacy during trials. If proven that the sources of the funds were illegal, the charges and sentences given to the accused will intensify.
Bail bonds are the most frequently petitioned form of bonds since it involves less cash. However, due to the legal nuances involved, the process usually takes longer. The eventual release also takes longer than cash bails. There certain individuals called ‘Bail Bondsmen' (Bail Agents) can post the bail for the accused given that they give them non-refundable premiums (California state limits are set at 10% of the total bail). But there are also discounts to specific people given that they meet the following conditions:
- Prescribed by a law professional – The defendant's lawyer lessened the charges and the value of the bail to a just extent.
- Government employee at the time of the crime
- People (current or past) who served the U.S. military
Failure to appear in court
A person who posted bail is legally obliged to appear in court to participate in the hearings. Failure to appear is a criminal offense that can lead the forfeiture of the bond and a consequent court summon or warrant of arrest. However, if the accused managed to appear in court or to the proper authority within the legally allotted time period (180 days in the state of California) the court might reconsider the forfeiture of the bond. But these privileges need proper and satisfactory causes or excuses to be acceptable in court. These conditions include:
- Disabilities – Medical disabilities proven to physically obstruct the person from attending the hearing. This should be approved by a credible medical professional.
- Severe physical illnesses – Not all ailments are justifiable excuses to miss hearings, there are specific ailments and severity of the said ailment that needs to be met to qualify for a justifiable excuse.
- Severe mental conditions – The mental state of the accused can be grounds for missing the hearings, however, these should be severe and dangerous cases like insanity and criminal psychopathy.
- Held custody by another party's jurisdictions – The accused was obstructed to attend the trial due to the jurisdiction of another party be it legal or illegally.
Posting bails involves legal nuances that only experienced law professionals know how to handle. That is why it would be the best course of action for you or anyone you know who is facing legal conflicts regarding bail bonds in Sanfrancisco or any other city in California to hire the help of lawyers with great track records to make sure all the rights of the parties involved are exercised justly.
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