How Does Bail Work?

January 27, 2015
How Does Bail Work?

A bail amount is set in order to ensure that a defendant returns to court and obeys the condition of his or her release while waiting for a trial date. After the case has ended, a bail is no longer needed and is released by the court, regardless of a guilty or not guilty decision.

What is Bail?

When a person is arrested and charged with a crime they are not immediately given a trial. Rather, they must wait for a trial in order to be found guilty or not guilty. A bail amount is detrained by the seriousness of the allegations, the defendant’s prior criminal record, and the chances the defendant will flee the community. Paying bail allows the person to wait for the trial date to be set at home, rather than in jail. Bail is also used as a way to ensure the defendant returns to the court for the trial. Once the defendant returns to custody, and once the case is ended (either with a guilty or not guilty ruling), the bail is exonerated (released) by the court.

Bail Returned

If a defendant posts the bail amount and returns to the court for his or her trial, they receive the full amount of the bond back – regardless of if they are found guilty or not guilty.

Misses Court Date

If a defendant posts bail but then does not show up in court for his or her trial, then the bail is forfeited to the court. If the defendant returns to the court later, then his or her attorney is about to ask to reinstate the bail. The court, based on the reason for why the defendant missed the court date, can decided to either reinstate or not reinstate the bail.


Source: eHow, What Happens to a Bail Bond When Found Not Guilty? 2015

The Law Office of Peter Berlin – Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney
16130 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 570, Los Angeles, CA 91436
(310) 289-5418
(310) 289-5418

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