Frequently Asked QuestionsWe have answered a wide range of Questions for your Convenience
Q. MY FRIEND OR LOVED ONE IS IN JAIL, WHAT'S MY FIRST STEP?
Contact Merced County Bail Bonds to determine the status and location of your friend or loved one.
Q. WHAT IS BAIL?
The bail system in the US is critical to the criminal justice system. Based on the severity of a crime, a bail amount may be set. This is a sum of money, which if paid, allows an accused citizen to be released from jail while he or she prepares a defense and attends court while maintaining their daily lives. In many criminal cases, a bail bonds company that represents the defendant may post bail on his or her behalf. The bail agent is then responsible for guaranteeing the person's appearance in court.
Q. WHAT IS A BAIL BOND?
A bail bond is a financial guarantee, much like an insurance policy, that is used to guarantee that person's appearance in court all the way through to the end of their trial. Failure by the defendant to appear in court will result in the bail bond being forfeited.
Q. HOW DO I PAY FOR BAIL?
Merced County Bail takes Visa, MasterCard, Discover, personal checks or cash. And we would be happy to discuss a payment arrangement that works with your budget.
Q. HOW DO I FIND OUT THE CHARGES?
If someone you know needs a bail bond, and is booked in Merced County Jail, our professional bail agent have real-time access to this inmate information. We can help with this process and you can call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Q. HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO GET A BAIL BOND?
The premium cost of a bail bond is 10% of the bail amount (for example, a $10,000 bond would require a $1,000 payment) and is regulated by the State of California, Department of Insurance, however, the premium can be as low as 8% based on certain factors that a licensed agent can explain to you when you call. Merced Bail Bonds takes credit cards and also offers very flexible payment.
Q. WHO SETS THE BAIL AMOUNT?
Bail amounts are different in each of California's 58 counties and are set by the courts each year and form what is called a bail schedule. In addition, the court gauges the safety of the public if the accused were to be released. They consider any claims of abuse or allegations of injury sustained by the victim. Then they decide whether or not the person arrested is considered a danger to the public or to him/herself. The courts also consider any threats made to the victim, the victim's family, or any witnesses of the crime. If the defendant has used a deadly weapon or was under the influence, or in possession of any controlled substances the bail bond outcome may vary. So, in short, several factors can affect the bail amount.
Q. WHAT IS A CO-SIGNER OR GUARANTOR?
A co-signer of guarantor is a person(s) who is willing to take on the responsibility of the defendant while they are released, after bail is posted. This person co-assumes the financial responsibility, including an agreement to pay the full bail bond amount if the defendant does not appear in court after a pre-determined amount of time.
Q. I MISSED COURT! WHAT NOW? WHAT IS FORFEITURE?
When a defendant fails to appear in court on the scheduled day, the result is a forfeiture of the bail bond. When a defendant misses a court date, a warrant is issued for the return of the accused to the court. Don't worry, in most cases Merced Bail Bond can reinstate the bond by working with the defendant and the court in getting a new court date. Call us immediately if you miss court so we can get the process started.
Q. WHAT IS A REINSTATEMENT?
If a defendant misses his or her court date, the opportunity still exists to have his or her warrant removed and for the bail bond to be reinstated by the court. Merced Bail Bonds has an excellent working relationship with Merced courts and can make the process move smoothly and expedited. The reinstatement process may sometimes result in additional fees to the defendant/co-signer.
Q. WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN A BAIL BOND IS EXONERATED?
A bail bond is “exonerated” when the court process or trial has concluded, whether the defendant is found guilty or innocent or if the case has been dismissed. At this point, the bail bond is settled; however, understand that any unpaid premium and or fees still owed to the bail bond company must be paid.
Q. IS MY PREMIUM REFUNDABLE?
The defendant and any co-signer(s) are responsible for the premium and any fees or additional expenses incurred by the posting of the bail bond on their behalf. These monies are earned at the time the defendant is released from custody and therefore by law are not subject to return. This is the case even if the defendant is found innocent or even if the case is dismissed or the defendant is placed back into custody for another offense.