Being arrested in Los Angeles County will definitely lead to some jail time. Many people believe that they will be incarcerated until they are able to make bail by standing before a judge, but this is not always the case. Bail bond agencies are usually able to get people out of prison within a few hours, but there has to be a set bail amount for the agency to sign off on. Luckily, the county of Los Angeles has set bail amounts for most crimes that will allow a person to leave jail to prepare their case before ever stepping foot into a courtroom.
Preset Bail in L. A. County
Bail schedules are lists of set bail amounts for any particular type of crime. In Los Angeles County, these bail amounts are set forth by the Superior Court of the county and apply to everyone arrested within the county. Without these schedules, every person arrested for a crime would have to wait for an initial hearing in front of a judge in order to make bail. There are some crimes in Los Angeles that do not have a set bail amount, but they are few and far between. Most people arrested in the county can garner their own release within a few hours if they contact a bail bond agency.
Even Serious Crimes Have Preset Bail Amounts
Several counties in California list certain crimes on their bail schedule as “No Bail.” This means that a person must see a judge before they can get out of jail on bail. Los Angeles County often doesn’t have this luxury, due to its high population. The city of Los Angeles alone has over 3.8 million people, so holding everyone accused of a serious crime would quickly overcrowd county and city jails.
Several crimes such as aggravated kidnapping and murder carry a “No Bail” tag in other counties throughout California, but not in Los Angeles. Each of these crimes carries a set bail amount of one million dollars in Los Angeles County. In fact, the only crime listed in the county’s bail schedule as “Not Bailable” is murder with special circumstances. This means most other crimes, including serious felonies, have a monetary bail amount that can secure a defendant’s release.
The fact that Los Angeles County allows even serious offenders to get out on bail doesn’t mean that the county is soft on crime. A one-million dollar bail amount is enough to keep most murderers and other serious offenders behind bars, but even those who do acquire bail are likely to return for their court dates in order to not forfeit such a large sum of cash or bond premium.
These bail amounts do not seem to have a negative effect on crime. When looking at the murder rates of all California cities with a population over 250,000, Los Angeles is only the fifth highest on the list of thirteen cities, with cities like Oakland nearly tripling its murder rate. Los Angeles County seems to have found a good balance that allows most people accused of crimes to gain their release through bail bond agencies, while keeping the majority of high-risk offenders imprisoned.
Other Serious Crimes
There are several other serious crimes, which also have a preset bail amount. In L.A., these charges have completely different bail amounts than they do in San Diego County (for instance):
Mayhem, which is the act of disfiguring or disabling a person in a permanent way, has a $100,000 preset bail amount. Stalking is also a serious crime listed on Los Angeles County’s bail schedule, and it brings with it a bail amount of $150,000. The act of soliciting murder carries with it a bail amount equivalent to an actual murder and it is set at one million dollars. Pandering is a serious problem in many areas within Los Angeles. Pandering is the act of soliciting people to be prostitutes or soliciting their services. Pandering has a preset bail amount of $35,000. This is unless the solicited prostitute is a minor; at this point the bail schedule sets bail at $50,000.
Los Angeles County’s bail schedule is a great way for those accused of crimes to be released so that they can work on their defense. The majority of crimes committed within this county, even a few that aren’t listed on the bail schedule, have a preset bail amount that a person can post to gain their own release. Any person arrested for a crime should immediately contact their lawyer or Bail Hotline to make sure they can get out of jail and assist in their own defense.
Download Los Angeles County’s 2012 Felony Bail Schedule here (pdf).