One of the most common questions when a person is arrested and booked into the Richmond Jail relates to their bail amount. Many people are sticker shocked to learn that amount has been set in the tens of thousands of dollars. Learning a friend or loved one has been taken into custody can be one of the most unnerving things anyone will ever experience. When they find that bail has been set at such a high amount this can have their world feeling as if it has been turned on its end. Why is it so much? Will they really need to pay all that money in order to get the defendant released from jail?
You may be surprised to learn that these amounts are not set at random. They instead more related to the charge the defendant is being booked on. After the defendant has been arrested and transported to the Richmond Jail the jailer will pull out the Contra Costa County bail schedule. This is a document that is set each year by a panel of judges. It lists all the crimes a person could be charged with and it provides different bail assignments for each one. A person who has been accused of a very serious crime, such as armed robbery, will have a higher bail assigned to them than a person who is being accused of a minor crime, such as public drunkenness.
Sometimes people think that these amounts can be “haggled” if they drive down to the jail and ask to speak with a supervisor. This does little more than waste valuable time. The only person who would have the ability to raise, lower or remove bail is a judge. That decision would not be made until the defendant is arraigned. If a person is not bonded out they will appear before a judge within three business days. If they are arrested on a weekend, or if there is a holiday during the week, you will want to keep in mind that these will not count as “business days”.
In order to have the defendant released from custody you have two options. The first involves taking the full bail amount in cash and posting it with the jail or the court. This is called “cash bail”. As long as the defendant makes all of their required court appearances that sum will be refunded, less administrative fees, to the person who posted it after the case is over. This return can often take weeks or months.
The second option involves hiring a Richmond bondsman. For a feel equal to 10% of the total bail amount you can purchase a bail bond. This is a piece of paper that is posted at the jail and it promises a couple of things. The first is that if the defendant is released from custody they will return to court when they are supposed to. The second, is that if they decide to flee from justice and cannot be located within six months, the bondsman and the person who cosigned for the defendant will be on the hook to pay the full bail amount to the court as a penalty.
Bail bonds companies take on a certain amount of liability every time they post a bond. This is why a nonrefundable fee is charged for this service. If you are unable to pay this full fee all at once be sure to ask the person you are speaking with if their company can assist you with a zero percent financing option. Some offer this, while others do not. You will want to make sure that you hire a bondsman who you feel is best able to help you based on your individual needs and situation.