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Bail considerations in California

On Behalf of | Dec 1, 2022 | Criminal Defense

If you are under arrest for committing a crime, you may be wondering if you can stay out of jail until the trial. Depending on the seriousness of the crime and other factors, there is a good chance you will be eligible for bail or other type of release.

A judge is only able to deny bail for a specific set of reasons, and he or she considers a number of factors to determine the approval, and the amount, of bail.

A defendant’s right to bail

According to the Judicial Council of California, all defendants have a constitutional right to bail, although there are a few exceptions. Defendants not entitled to bail include those charged with a capital offense and felonies related to sexual assault, acts of violence and bodily harm threat. Others not guaranteed bail are those with an immigration hold, parole hold and extradition warrant.

Set bail amount

The state’s Constitution prohibits bail of excessive amounts, so each Superior Court sets a specific bail amount for each offense. The prosecution can request an increase of the set amount if it can prove enhancing factors, and defendants can also request a lowered amount.

Factors considered for setting bail

According to the California’s Peace Officers’ Association, the main factors considered when determining bail are the safety of the victim, victim’s family and members of the public. Other factors include:

  • Severity of the sentence
  • Number of offenses charged
  • Ties to the community
  • Past offenses and record of appearing at past hearings
  • Financial situation of the defendant

Release on defendant’s own recognizance

One alternative is that the defendant faces release with no requirement of bail. This is a requirement for all misdemeanors unless there is a safety concern or there is a chance the defendant will not show up for trial.


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