San Diego Criminal Law

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Criminal Law San Diego


Every person charged with a crime is entitled to a hearing to determine whether a bail should be set and, if so, in what amount.

Some factors a judge will consider include:
  • Length of time in the community
  • Family ties to the community
  • Prior record or lack thereof
  • Any failures to appear in court (including traffic tickets!)
  • The nature of the charges
A judge may grant a release without requiring any bail (“own recognizance” release) or may set a bail at a certain amount.

There are three ways in which to post bond in state criminal cases:
  1. Cash Bail:  An individual may post the entire amount of the bond with the court. At the end of the case, assuming the individual made all required court appearances, the bond would be refunded in its entirety. Although this is a simple way to post bail, on many occasions the amount of the bond is too high to make this a practical solution.
  2. Property:  A person may post bond by the use of real property. However, to do so, one must have equity in the property worth at least twice the amount of the bail. Although this may be a consideration for posting bail, it is often times quite slow and the property will be tied up until the criminal case has been finalized. Before the judge will allow the posting of property, there needs to be paperwork filed with the court, a recording of the deed of trust with the county recorder’s office, and an appraisal of the property by an independent real estate appraiser. This takes time, and many people do not want to wait in jail while the property is being posted.
  3. Bail bondsman:  Perhaps the easiest and most popular method of posting bail is through the use of a bail bondsman. To post bond in this manner, a person pays the bondsman 10 % of the amount of the total bail. That is the bondsman’s fee, and the bondsman then puts up a bond in order for the person to be released. When using a bail bondsman, one must usually have collateral for the balance of the bond. Also, it is important to remember that the 10% fee is non-refundable. In other words, even if charges are not filed or dismissed immediately, the bondsman still keeps the 10% fee.


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