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If you’ve been arrested and released on bail in California, you’re probably wondering, where does bail money go in Orange County?

It’s a great question. After all, bail is often a large sum of money and more than most people have lying around. It’s normal to wonder what will happen to it. Before we discuss where bail money goes, let’s dive into what it is and how you’ll be able to afford it.

What is Bail Money?

When you get arrested, you’ll be held in a jail cell at the police station or a detention center until you go before a judge. When you do see a judge, he or she will make sure you understand the charges being brought against you and then will weigh the facts of the case and your prior history to determine if you are released, and how likely you are to return for your next hearing.

The judge weighs a number of factors before making this decision. These include (but are not limited to):

  1. What is the severity of the crime?
  2. Is it a violent offense, and are you a danger to yourself or others?
  3. Do you have strong ties to the community, like a job, family, or volunteer commitments? Those with strong community ties are less likely to flee the county or the country to evade jail time.
  4. Do you have people who would suffer if you could not care for them, such as children or elderly or sick parents?
  5. Have you been arrested or found guilty of criminal activity in the past?
  6. If you got arrested in the past, did you appear in court when required?
  7. What is their personal character and attitude in court?

There are three potential outcomes to this decision. First, if you’ve committed a misdemeanor and the judge feels that you are safe to be out and about and that you are likely to return to court for your next hearing, he or she may release you on your own recognizance (ROR). This means that you will be free to return to your life and will not have to post any bail or collateral in order to do so.

If the judge feels you are a danger to yourself or the community, he or she may deny bail entirely. When this happens, you will be required to stay in jail until your case goes before the court and you are found innocent or found guilty and sentenced. They will schedule your next court date as quickly as possible.

In most situations, the judge will set bail. Bail is a financial commitment you make to return to court for future appearances. They generally base the bail amount on the nature and severity of the crime. You can post bail and be released to return home. If you don’t have the money, you will have to stay in jail until your case goes before a judge.

How will bail be posted?

Depending on the bail amount set, you may be able to pay it yourself or reach out to friends and family to cover the amount. The court will accept cash, money orders, personal checks, traveler’s checks, or cashier checks. While they could potentially set bail in the millions of dollars range, it’s most often between $20,000 and $50,000. For many, this is way too much to lay out. However, you may think that this is your only option. Thankfully, if the bail is more than you can afford or have lying around in liquid form, you can reach out to a bail bondsman for help. You can learn more about bail and bonds here.

A bail bondsman will post the bail on your behalf, but first, they’ll need to secure those funds to protect themselves. They will charge you 10% of the bail amount. That means if bail is set for $50,000, you will pay $5,000 to utilize their services. They will then ask for collateral such as cash, personal property like art or electronics, real estate holdings, stocks and bonds, or vehicles. If they get their money back from the court (which we’ll discuss next), your property gets returned to you.

Where does bail money go in Orange County?

At this point, you’re probably wondering, where does bail money go? Well, the court will hold onto your bail money for the duration of your case. Under some circumstances, the court will return your money to you. This occurs when:

  • You appear in court as scheduled
  • You are found not guilty
  • The charge against you gets dismissed

Please note that the courts do not move quickly. It can take 6-12 weeks after a case concludes to receive your money back. Keep that in mind when you make the decision whether or not to utilize a bail bondsman’s services.

There are also some circumstances when the court will not return your money to you. This occurs when:

  • You are found guilty. When this happens, the bail money may be used to pay fines
  • You fail to show up in court as scheduled

If you have utilized the services of a bail bondsman, you will not lose any property you put up as collateral; however, you will forfeit the 10% fee paid upfront. This is non-refundable and is the cost of doing business with a bail bondsman.

If you are arrested in Orange County and need a bail bondsman, call Dan’s Bail Bonds. He is discreet, mobile, and available 24/7 to help bail you out of jail. Don’t trust your release to just any bail bondsman. Dan has 20+ years of experience and can help guide you through to process so you can get out quickly.

When you show up for your court dates and adhere to the requirements of your bail, there’s no need to ask where does bail money go… it goes right back into your pocket.