How Bail Bonds Work in California

If you didn’t know how California bail bonds work you might not be getting the discount on bail you deserve. Use our bail calculator and read on to find out about California bail loans at zero down

How bail bonds work in California starts with a defendant’s friend or family member contacting a bondsman near them. To get them out of county jail they’ll simply pay the full cash bail assigned by the court or a low percentage of the bond called the premium. Only then will the legal process of getting someone out of jail begin.

How Does Bail Bonds Work in California

When using California bail bonds, you pay a bail bondsman 7% to 10% of the total bail amount (the premium). When you’ve paid the bondsman, they will deliver the bond to the court and secure the defendant’s release. Keep in mind that the premium paid to the bail company is non-refundable.

Paying the premium begins the contract between a bail bondsmen (or bail agency) and the defendant (or cosignor). When bail is set by the court, the California bail bonds company is an option used by the defendant to get released from jail before their trial begins. This is how bail bonds work in California.

How Much is Your California Bail?

Depend on one of the largest California bail bond companies with flexible payment plans and terms available. Enter in the total bail amount needed to determine your approximate bail costs of find out if you’re eligible for a bail loan:

bail bond loans california

There are three established methods in California for posting bail which includes the following:

CASH BOND:A cash bond (or cash bail) is where the total amount is posted in US currency by the defendant, family member or friend.
PROPERTY BOND:A property bond is typically when real estate property, usually the home of the defendant, family member or friend is used as a form of collateral in security the bail. Typically, the property value must be considerably higher than the bail in order for the judge to approve.
BAIL BONDS:Commercial bail bonds are the most common method of posting bail. After being arrested, most people don’t have the cash on hand or the property necessary to make bail. By paying only 10% of the cash bond, the defendant is able to use the 90% savings on a lawyer, rent, etc. This system has been in place in California, as well as the rest of the world for many decades.

History of the California Bail Bonds System

How Bail Bonds Work in California
McDonough Bail Bonds San Francisco

It’s said that bail bonds really began in San Francisco in 1898 with the McDonough Bros. Bail Bond Brokers. Located on the corner of Kearney and 700 Clay St; Peter McDonough and his brother Tom are said to have founded the first modern bail bonds business in the United States. Knowing the history of bail services will help people understand how bail bonds work in California

The bail bonds California system is very similar to that in other states in which the defendant pays the agency a pre-determined amount and in turn they post the entire bail to the court. The amount for the initial fee can be cash, but it also can be collateral, assets or securities as well.

The bail premium can come from the defendant, a family member or friend willing to co-sign the contract that is made.

Because the bail bonds agency is posting the bulk of the bail, they have a very strong incentive to see that the defendant makes it to their court date. If the defendant decides not to appear or “jumps bail”, the bail bond company can seize whatever collateral was used to secure the initial fee and usually hire bounty hunters to bring a defendant to jail.

Most companies will send a bounty hunter to track down the defendant and turn them over to the court, this is simply how bail bonds work in California and the rest of the nation that uses commercial bail. This is bad for the cosignor as they are now on the hook for the cost to find and deliver the defendant back to jail. This also means there is no cost to the taxpayer!

California Bail Bonds Charges & Fees

Standard cost of a bail bond is 10% of the total amount of the bail set by the court. Most states, including California, have laws, rules and regulations as to what can be charged by the bondsmen.



There are certain cases where only 5% may be charged for particularly high bail amounts that usually range in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. There are also some bond companies who will take payments on the premium. When talking to a bondsman, ask about any discounts that could be applied. Some companies will allow premium discounts for:

  • Military Veterans (active and retired)
  • AARP members
  • Union members
  • Police officers
  • Teachers
  • Attorney clients

Any additional charges or fees may come from the bail bonds company. Although such charges are generally small and many California bail agencies tend to incorporate all of their fees within the 10% of the non-refundable fee. However, there may be fees for paperwork, bounty hunters or other expenses. Try the calculator below to get a better understanding of how bail bonds work in California and what the costs are.

Bail Bond Loan Premium Fees Calculator
Enter Your Bail Bond Amount: $
Your Bail Premium Costs $
3 Months6 Months
9 Months12 Months
Affordable California bail bond loans when you need it most

These are part of the overall bail services in California which are provided to the defendant. Example: If the defendant skips court, it is up to you, the co-signor, to pay the bondsman 100% of the bond plus any fees associated with re-capturing the defendant.

If you’re a cosignor, it’s a good idea to sign a bail contract knowing that the defendant will never run leaving you to pay thousands of dollars in fees. You should have a good understanding of how bail bonds work in California if you’re going to bond someone out of Orange County jail or Los Angeles County jail.

Video:How Bail Bonds Work in California
California Bail Bonds Information

How Do Bail Bonds Work in California?

So how do bail bonds work in California? The county court will set the defendant’s bail. It’s simple, you get arrested, call a bondsman near you – then a California bail bond company will post the bailbond for you as low as 7%. Co-signors guarantee the full bail amount will be paid to the bondsman if the defendant does not appear in court.

If my California bail is $150,000, how much should I pay?

We get questions about bail prices all the time. To help calculate your bail in California, we’ve set up a simple bail schedule. Below is a simple table to help you better understand the premium rates for bail. Here, we will calculate bail using a standard of 10%:


Need to find a California inmate or get a handle on how bail bonds work in California? Visit the official website of the California Insurance Department laws which oversees the California bail bond agencies law in the state. You can also do a search for the bonding companies license to see if they are still actively licensed to write bond.

California Bail Form

California bail bonds contact form


Need more information about how bail bonds work in California? Fill out the information below and a California Bail Bonds Agent will contact you faster than you expect!

Defendant Date of Birth
Please Enter Todays Date(Required)

FAQ | Frequently Asked Questions About California Bail Bonds

What does no bail allowed mean in California?

A No Bail Hold is based on the severity of the crime committed and if the defendant is a threat to the community. You are held without bail until the trial has completed.

Do you have to pay full bail in California?

The full bail amount must be paid in order to be released from any county jail or police jail. This bail can be paid as a full cash bond to the county or using commercial bonds at 10%. Talk to a few bondsman near you to get a better idea of how bail bonds work in California to save time and money.

How can I get my bail reduced in California?

You can only have your bail reduced when here is a change in circumstances in your case. Penal Code §1289 authorizes a court to reduce bail if “good cause” is shown. You should consider hiring an attorney for any bail reduction hearings.

How much is a bail bond in California?

Bail bonds in California are 10% of the full bond. This amount is set by the California Department of Insurance and is adopted by all cities as per their bail bond schedules.

Does California allow online bail bonds?

Yes, California does allow online bail bonds and it all begins with an online bail bond application. Once completed, the cosignor will make the bail payment online and the bondsman would then post the bond and the defendant is then released from county jail.

Can I get bail with no money down in California?

You could get bail with no money down and make payments on your bond. What you will need to do is have enough cosignors who could pay the bond in case the defendant skips bail. You’ll simply make payments monthly to the bondsman. Most bondsmen allow 0 down bail although a lot of bondsman are losing money when a defendant skips.

How do I get a zero down bail bond in Los Angeles?

IN order to get zero down bail in Los Angeles, you’ll need to own your own home or property or have the collateral able to cover the entire cost of the bond. The other factors include the crime committed, is the defendant a flight risk, have community ties.

How do I get 1% bail bonds in California?

You are eligible for a 1% bail bond down-payment after meeting criteria such as, not a flight risk, good cosignors, longevity in the community, worked at the same job for 2 years or more – same residence for 2 years or more.

What happens if I skip bail in California?

If you skip bail in California you’ll be issues a bench warrant by the court. This then gives the bail bondsman the authority to track you down and bring you back to jail. Often the bail bonds company will hire bounty hunters to capture a defendant on the run.

I’m a cosignor. How do I get off a California bail bond?

If you’re a cosignor on someone’s bail bond and want to be removed from that liability you’ll need to justify your reason. A reason may be that you know the defendant is going to skip town (with proof), the defendant is using drugs or planning on committing a crime. What will happen next is the bondsman will apprehend the defendant and place them back in jail. If you provided collateral, this will be returned to you in good time. Understanding how bail bonds work in California is important, so ask your bondsman BEFORE you sign the indemnitor application.

Where can I get bail bonds with no money down in California?

Most bail bondsmen in California offer no money down bail bonds. But, they will take into consideration the length of time at your residence, how long you’ve worked for the same employer and determine if you’re able to make payments while the court case is ongoing.

If my Los Angeles bail bond is $50,000 how much do I pay a bondsman?

If your bail in Los Angeles is set at $50,000 then the amount you would need to pay a bondsman to be released from Los Angeles County Jail is $5,000.

How much is bail for a felony in California?

Felony charges in California are listed in the county bail schedule. Most bail schedules include the crime and the amount of bond. Although this number can be decreased at a bail hearing. Some felonies on a bail schedule includes DUI with Bodily Injury: $100,000. Domestic Violence: up to $50,000. Hate Crimes: $20,000+. Murder: No Bail