How Much is Bail for a Felony in California?
Getting arrested can be disorienting and scary. One of the first concerns is usually “How much will my bail be set at?” or “How can I post bail?”. The bail amount depends on factors like the severity of the crime and your criminal history.
Felonies have a wide range of bail amounts. They will each be different depending on the severity of the offense, prior convictions, and many other factors. If you can not afford your bail, your attorney can request a bail reduction.
In California, a judge will decide the bail amount at your arraignment based on the county’s bail schedule. But judges have wide discretion to raise or lower the scheduled amount.
If you are considered a high flight risk or danger to the public, the judge will likely set a higher bail. Those with minimal criminal histories may receive lower bail for the same charges.
It’s important to understand the bail process and how amounts are determined. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can explain your options, advocate for reasonable bail, and guide you through this difficult time. Legal reputation can prove invaluable after an arrest.
An Overview of How Bail is Set in California
After an arrest, a judge will decide the bail amount during your arraignment hearing. This is based on the Public Safety Bail Schedule, which provides bail ranges for specific crimes. However, judges have discretion to raise or lower the bail amount based on factors like:
- The severity of the alleged crime
- Your criminal history and record of appearing in court
- Any prior failures to appear in court
- Your ties to family, employment, and the community
Bail is intended to guarantee you appear at future court dates. If you’re considered a flight risk or a danger to the community, your bail might be set higher.
Average Bail for Felony Charges
Felonies are more severe criminal offenses punishable by over a year in state prison. Felony crimes have a wide range of bail amounts, but let’s look at some common examples:
- Grand Theft Auto: $25,000 is typical for grand theft auto.
- Robbery: For robbery, bail often starts around $50,000.
- Burglary: The standard bail amount for burglary is around $20,000.
A first-time felony offense will generally have bail set between $10,000 to $50,000. But it can easily be much higher depending on circumstances. Felony bail amounts tend to increase with your criminal history.
Misdemeanor Bail Amounts Are Lower
Misdemeanors are less serious crimes punishable by up to a year in county jail. Bail is usually lower, often ranging from $500 to $5,000. For example:
- DUI: A first DUI usually has a bail of $2,500.
- Petty Theft: Bail for petty theft starts around $1,000.
- Assault: For a simple assault charge, bail may be $5,000.
As with felonies, misdemeanor bail amounts can go up based on your criminal record and other factors. But generally, the bail range is lower than felonies.
Steep Bail for Very Serious Crimes
While felonies have a wide range of bail amounts, the most serious, violent, or dangerous crimes often have bail set at $100,000 or higher. Some examples include:
- Murder: $1 million or more.
- Rape: Starting around $250,000 for rape charges.
- Kidnapping: Around $500,000 is common for kidnapping.
For crimes like murder, rape, arson, kidnapping, and sex offenses against children, judges will typically set bail extremely high. This reflects the severe nature of the charges. The goal is to ensure community safety and prevent flight risk.
Low Bail for Minor Crimes
At the other end of the spectrum, minor crimes will have bail set very low, usually under $5,000. For example:
- Trespassing: $500 is standard bail for trespassing.
- Disturbing the Peace: Around $1,000 for disturbing the peace.
- Minor Drug Possession: For small amounts of drugs, bail may be $2,500.
For these petty offenses, judges recognize the charges are not severe. So bail will be low, often just a few hundred or thousand dollars.
Using a Bail Bondsman in California
Posting the full bail amount as set by the court can be challenging for many defendants. This is where a bail bondsman comes in handy. Here’s a quick overview of how bail bonds work:
- The bondsman pays the full bail amount to the court on your behalf.
- You pay the bondsman a non-refundable fee, usually 10% of the total bail.
- The bondsman keeps this fee even if charges are dismissed.
- If you fail to appear in court, the bondsman is given time to locate you before they forfeit the full bail amount to the court.
This allows you to be released from jail for a fraction of the total bail amount. Bondsmen are regulated by the California Department of Insurance and are legally allowed to operate throughout the state.
Don’t Navigate California’s Complex Bail System Alone
Getting arrested is scary. Between bail amounts, bondsmen, and legal processes, things can feel overwhelmingly fast. At Kolacia Law, we know this world inside out. For over 15 years, we’ve helped good people move forward after an arrest. We fight for fair bail, provide guidance on bondsmen, and defend your case in court.
Don’t leave your rights and freedom to chance. With an aggressive criminal defense lawyer on your side, you can feel empowered, not powerless. Reach out now for a free case review. Our top priority is putting this bump in the road behind you so you can get back to your life.
Contact Kolacia Law today – we’re here to help.