Understanding How Bail Works in Ventura County

After an arrest in Ventura County, suspects will be taken to a local law enforcement station or county jail in order to begin the booking process. Booking involves the identification of suspects using fingerprints, mug shots, and information entered into a criminal justice database.

After the booking process, suspects will be held until they are released on their own recognizance, appear for arraignment or trial, or post bail for release. The unique facts and circumstances involving in your case will determine how bail applies to your case. Below is a general breakdown of how bail works:

  • What is bail?
    Bail refers to the amount of money an arrestee must pay in order to be released. It is designed to assure arresting agencies and the court that the defendant will appear in court. Should a person fail to appear in court, bail will be forfeited.
  • How is bail determined?
    Bail is determined according to the Ventura County bail schedule - which establishes bail based on the crime involved. Individuals accused of crimes such as DUI or petty theft are often released on their own recognizance, while more serious crimes, such as assault or robbery, will result in bail being set at a certain sum.
  • Reducing bail
    If a person is not released on their own recognizance, they have the right to appear at an arraignment before the judge within two days of an arrest - barring weekends or holidays. The arraignment will formally introduce the charges against a defendant, allows the defendant to enter a plea, and provides the opportunity for them to request a bail hearing in order to reduce bail. Citing a lack of criminal history, showing that a defendant doesn’t pose a flight risk, and showing strong ties to the community are common strategies used to reduce bail.
  • Posting Bail
    Bail can be posted personally - through cash, checks, money orders, or credit card - but is most often posted using bail bonds. You can make a 10% payment of your bond to a bail bondsman who will post bail on your behalf. If a defendant attends all court appearances, the money will be returned - although bail companies keep 10% of the total bond in exchange for their services. If they do not, the defendant may be liable for paying the entire bail amount, or may surrender any collateral.

For many not familiar with the criminal justice system, bail can be another unfamiliar and intimidating part of the process. At Lessem & Newstat, LLP, our attorneys have extensive experience guiding clients and their families through each phase of their legal journeys, from the initial arrest to the very end.

If you have questions about bail or how our legal team can defend against the charges and penalties you face, contact our firm for a FREE and confidential consultation.