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The Different Conditions Of Bail in California 

No matter how big or small the charge is, showing up in court and being convicted is always stressful. In most cases, the court will set a reasonable bail that can help you become free in a few hours. 

Based on the nature and severity of the crime, the judge usually imposes certain conditions to make sure that you don’t inflict any harm while being out on bail. As a defendant, you need to understand these conditions because you don’t want to be charged with not complying with court orders.

Here are some of those conditions.

How Bail Works in California

A defendant may post an official bond pledging to show up in court to face the accusations brought against them. This is called bail. The idea behind bail is that a person is deemed innocent unless proven guilty. A person’s bail may involve hiring a bail bonds provider and paying a certain amount of money to get provisional freedom.

Not all crimes call for bail. The courts utilize a protocol for determining defendants’ bail amounts. A group of judges in California annually analyzes the bail system. The schedule includes an in-depth record of all offenses committed within the county’s territory. Judges establish bail amounts under established procedures, taking into account the nature of the offense.

Defendants can either hire a bail bonds agency or pay the total sum in cash to the court. In most cases, if you can find a reliable agency with a cheap bail bond plan, you can expedite the process and be free in several hours.

How Much is Bail in California?

The bail sum varies by crime in California. For the charges with the greatest severity, bail may be up to a million dollars. For less serious offenses, bail is often set at between $20K and $50K. 

A court will often not reduce your bond amount below a common “scheduled figure” when you are accused of a violent or more serious offense. To lower the bond amount in this situation, the court must be shown a good cause.

Some Common Bail Conditions

The court has the authority to impose conditions if your bond is reduced or you are given bail. Your defense counsel might also suggest conditions while asking the court to set bail or lower it.

Bail conditions are often enforced based on the nature and severity of the offense. Some of these could apply to your circumstance better than others. Conditions could consist of:

Travel Limitations

The court sometimes orders defendants to not travel beyond their jurisdictions so they won’t miss court appearances. By doing so, the court can closely monitor their movements and actions. Such travel limitations are prevalent and tightly enforced, although pretrial services officials may occasionally make exceptions, such as allowing a defendant to see dying family members.

Wearing a SCRAM device

A SCRAM device is a monitoring wearable around the ankle. The defendant has to wear this device as a condition of probation for driving while intoxicated (DUI) in California. For people under home arrest or on parole, the SCRAM gadget can monitor their location. Any drinking while wearing SCRAM will be documented and notified to the court.

The SCRAM tracker does this by checking perspiration, identifying alcohol content in the body, and automatically sending test reports to the control center. This allows the court to test and monitor people with DUI charges without sending an officer to do the process in person.

As alcohol monitoring is an ongoing process, it is usually impossible for the person to avoid the tests without breaking the probationary conditions.

Continuing Your Job / Finding One

If a defendant is out on bail, the court may order them to continue working on their present job or, if they are unemployed, to actively look for work. Such agreements assure the court that the defendant is using legitimate measures to become self-sufficient.

Checking in With an Officer

Courts usually mandate that a defendant follows a consistent schedule to regularly check in with an officer. That gives the court a means to monitor the person’s activities. These meetings, which are similar to those needed for probationers or parolees, enable the court to ensure that the defendant is abiding by the conditions of release while out on bond.

Firearm Ban

As a condition of bail, a court may order a defendant to relinquish all firearms and/or avoid obtaining any more weapons. This limitation is typical and usually even applies to individuals who are facing offenses unrelated to firearms.

Electronic monitoring and house arrest.

Orders for house arrest give convicts a choice instead of putting them in jail while they serve their sentences. Offenders who are placed under house arrest must spend most of the day at home. Despite the inconvenience, this is usually better than going to jail.

In such cases, the defendant must wear an electronic monitoring gadget like a GPS tracking device and other tracking tools so the court can make sure they stay within the set parameters. Except for conversations between the defendant and the court representatives, such electronic devices cannot be utilized to listen in or record any other conversations.

No-Contact Conditions

The court will frequently limit a defendant’s contact with anyone who the court thinks the offender could hurt. In domestic violence cases, such conditions are typically imposed to stop offenders from hurting, intimidating, or influencing family members. 

Mandated Therapy / Classes

As part of the bail conditions, judges sometimes order defendants to attend seminars or workshops. These may be about subjects like behavior psychology, drug abuse, and even anger management therapy.

The Different Conditions Of Bail in California

What if the Conditions are Not Clear?

When reading the document outlining bail conditions, some items may be confusing for you, particularly if you don’t have a legal background. In that case, make sure you read the terms of the agreement. If you’re unsure of what anything means, ask questions from the court or your attorney.

The terms must be obvious enough so the defendant and anyone else reading the document can understand the obligations and penalties.

Can There Be Any Exceptions?

Such conditions may be subject to exceptions. Your bail documents must expressly indicate any exceptions. If there is an exception, be sure you are aware of all of your rights and obligations. For instance, you may get the right to contact another person with their consent or the presence of an officer.

What if a Condition is in Conflict with Court Orders?

Ask your lawyer for guidance if you’re unsure whether your conditions make it hard to follow orders in another court.

For instance, you could have already consented to a release agreement stating that you must stay at a particular place. You may be asked to sign another release form that indicates where you must reside. There is a problem here because both release forms are in effect and demand you to simultaneously live in two places.

Even if the bail requirements are in contradiction with a different court order you already have, you may choose to abide by them in certain circumstances. For instance, you could be required to agree in your bond release agreement to not contact your ex-spouse, but you might have a family court order allowing you to visit your children. In that case, even if you have permission to visit your children, you cannot do so because of the latest condition imposed by the court.

Bottom Line

When the court imposes any conditions for the bail, you need to clearly understand what they mean. Otherwise, you may face additional charges for not following those conditions. This is a criminal act and may make you end up in custody for another crime. It may be more difficult to get bail for a second crime.

But above all, it’s important to stay calm and get in touch with a reliable bail bonds agency that can expedite the process, handle the payments, and offer you a cheap bail bond plan so you can get freedom with minimum stress and effort. 

That’s exactly what we do at Escondido Bail Bonds. We can send an agent to your door to approve your application or submit all the paperwork via docu-sign. We’re also a phone call away, ready to answer any question you may have.