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4 Options to Make Bail More Affordable

California is an expensive place to call home, even when it comes to the legal system. The average bail amount in the U.S. is $10,000 - but in California, it's $50,000. Freedom can sometimes come at a cost that is too high for a defendant to meet. However, there are options available to help make bail more affordable.  

1. Collateral Bond

Traditional bond options require that a percentage (typically 10%) of the total bail amount be paid up front. For a bail set at $100,000, the defendant or their friends and family would need to pay $10,000 in cash. If you don't have access to that amount of money, then a collateral bond can help.

Collateral bonds allow you to put up property and other valuables, such as jewelry, in lieu of a cash payment. When using your property as collateral, you must be the sole owner, the property may not have liens against it, and you will need to provide documentation to verify the information.

If you're considering placing your property up for someone else, you should understand that if the person does not meet the conditions for bail, then your property could be fortified.   

2. Payment Plan

Sometimes collateral bonds are not an option, for example, if you still have a mortgage on your home. In a situation like this where you can't meet the collateral requirement, but still don't have the money to pay the upfront percentage, you may qualify for a payment plan option.

With a payment plan, you are required to pay a certain portion of the original percentage amount. Consider the previous $100,000 bail example. Instead of paying $10,000 at once, the bail bond might allow you to pay 30% upfront, which is only $3,000, and pay the remaining balance over a set period.

You may need to qualify for this option. The bond company may review your finances, check your credit and have other criteria. 
3. Personal Recognizance Bond
A release on personal recognizance is an option for reducing your bail amount. Personal recognize bonds generally come with a set of requirements and conditions. In terms of requirements, you must be a productive citizen of society with ties to your local community, and you must not pose a threat to the local community. 

A person who is being charged with a violent crime or has a lengthy criminal record would likely not meet the bond release requirements.

The judge has full discretion when setting the conditions for a personal recognizance bond release, but a common requirement is court-approved classes. For example, someone arrested for a drug-related charge may be required to take a drug education or abuse course.  In addition, personal recognizance bonds may take longer to get than a bail from a bondsman and there may be hidden costs.

4. Financial Hardship Reduction

A financial hardship reduction in bail is just as it sounds, a reduction in the bail amount due to your financial situation. A student or a person that is paying for expensive medical care and doesn't have much money are possible defendants that may qualify for the reduction. However, you will generally need an attorney.

In addition to filing the motion to reduce bail for financial hardship, you will need to provide evidence and convince the judge you deserve the benefit, which is sometimes challenging. Keep in mind that the crime you are accused of committing and the evidence against you may influence the judge's decision. 

No matter what path you decide to take, an attorney and a bail bondsman should be a part of your team. If you or a loved one is in need of bail assistance, then you need to contact Albert Ramirez Bail Bonds. We offer payment plans and other options to help you cover the cost of bail and get you released.