For those facing felony charges in California, the bail process can be more complicated than for those facing misdemeanor charges. This is because the amount of bail set for felonies is typically much higher than for misdemeanors and may require the use of a bail bond company to post bail. If you or a loved one are facing felony charges in California, it’s important to understand how the bail process works and what options are available to you.
What Is Felony?
In California, a felony is defined as a punishable crime by death or imprisonment in state prison. Examples of felonies include rape, murder, robbery, and assault with a deadly weapon. On the other hand, misdemeanors are punishable by up to one year in county jail.
Felony Vs. Misdemeanor Charges in California?
The main difference between felony and misdemeanor charges in California is the potential punishment if convicted. Felonies are more serious crimes than misdemeanors with harsher penalties. For example, a conviction for a felony can result in a prison sentence, while a conviction for a misdemeanor usually only results in a county jail sentence.
Another key difference between felonies and misdemeanors is that felonies are typically charged as “wobblers.” This means that they can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances of the case. Misdemeanors, on the other hand, are always charged as misdemeanors.
What Are Wobbler Offenses in California?
A wobbler offense may be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstances of the case. There are many wobbler offenses in California, including typical felonies, like grand theft and burglary, and some usual misdemeanors, like petty theft and vandalism.
Whether to charge a wobbler offense as a felony or a misdemeanor is up to the prosecutor. They will consider the severity of the crime, the defendant’s criminal history, and the victim’s injuries when making this decision.
If a wobbler offense is charged as a felony, the defendant will usually be sentenced to prison if convicted. The arrested person will usually be sentenced to county jail if it is charged as a misdemeanor.
What Is Bail?
Bail is the money that an arrested person or defendant must pay to be released from jail pending their trial. Its purpose is to ensure that the defendant will return for their court date. If the defendant does not show up for court, they will forfeit their bail, and a warrant will be issued for their arrest.
In California, bail is set by a judge at the defendant’s arraignment. The judge will consider several factors when setting bail, including the severity of the crime, the criminal history of the accused, and whether or not there is a flight risk.
Flight risk means that the defendant is likely to flee the jurisdiction before trial. If the judge thinks the suspect is a flight risk, they will set a higher bail amount.
How Much Is the Bail for Felonies in California?
The bail set for felonies is typically much higher than for misdemeanors. For example, the bail for a felony murder charge can be as high as $1 million, while the bail for a misdemeanor DUI charge is typically only a few thousand dollars.
This means that many people facing felony charges in California will need to use a California bail bonds company to post bail. Bail bond companies are businesses that post bail on behalf of the defendant. The company will usually charge the defendant a non-refundable fee (10% of the bail amount) to post bail.
If the suspect fails to appear for their court date, the bail bond company must pay the total amount of the bail. The company may then try to track down the defendant and bring them back to court. If they are not successful, they may hire a bounty hunter.
What Are the Different Types of Bail Bonds in California?
There are three main bail bonds types in California, such as:
Cash Bail Bonds
A cash bail bond is when the defendant or a cosigner pays the full amount of the bail in cash to the court. The money is then returned to the cosigner at the end of the case, minus any fees that may be owed.
Property Bail Bonds
A property bail bond is when the defendant or a cosigner uses their property as collateral for the bail bond. If the suspect fails to appear for their court date, the court may seize the property, and a bounty hunter may be hired to track down the defendant.
Surety Bail Bonds
A surety bail bond is when the defendant or a cosigner pays a bail bond company a non-refundable fee (10% of the bail amount) to post bail on their behalf. Failure to appear of the accused for their court date means that the bail bond company should pay for the full amount of the bail and may hire a bounty hunter to track down the defendant.
How Do I Choose a Bail Bond Company in California?
There are many bail bond companies in California, so it’s essential to choose one that is reputable and has experience posting bail for felonies. You can ask the people you trust if they have any recommendations, or you can search online for reviews.You must also ensure that the California Department of Insurance licenses the bail bond company you choose. You can check the Department of Insurance’s website to verify that a company is licensed.
Bailing Out a Loved One in California
If you have a loved one who has been arrested and charged with a felony in California, it’s essential to act quickly. The sooner you contact a bail bond company, the sooner your loved one will be released from jail.
Also, make sure to understand how to post a bail bond in California before you sign any paperwork. You don’t want to end up paying the bail’s full amount if your loved one fails to appear for their court date.