What You Should Know About the Los Angeles Zero Bail Policy

US dollar bills between gavel and light wooden table with handcuffs on left side

During COVID, LA had what’s known as a “zero bail policy” in place – but what is zero bail, and what are the implications for defendants? Here’s what you should know about CA’s zero bail policy. 

What Is Bail?

Bail is a sum of money a defendant pays in exchange for release from jail. Once bail is posted, the defendant may be released within a few hours, but it can take longer if it’s a weekend or holiday. 

The defendant must agree to certain conditions, known as bail conditions, before they’re released. Bail conditions include, for example, returning to court on scheduled dates. If someone fails to meet their bail conditions, they could be arrested and the bail money is forfeited. 

What Is the LA County Zero Bail Policy?

In April 2020, LA County introduced an emergency order for a “zero bail” policy. 

The Los Angeles zero bail policy meant that those accused of misdemeanors, or low-level offenses, could be released from jail without posting any bail. The rules stem from CA’s statewide Emergency Bail Schedule of 2020.   

As the zero bail policy only applied to lower level crimes, not every defendant was eligible for zero bail. For example, zero bail didn’t apply to serious felonies.  

Why Did LA Have a Zero Bail Policy?

Zero bail was introduced during the pandemic to help stop the spread of COVID-19 among inmates. The jail population is vulnerable to infection more generally due to the enclosed space, and so the policy helped to keep defendants and prison staff safe.  

Is Zero Bail the Same as a Non-Bailable Offense?

No. A non-bailable offense is a crime for which the defendant cannot get bail. Examples include terrorist offenses and crimes for which you could be sentenced to life imprisonment. 

Is Zero Bail the Same as Released on Own Recognizance (ROR)?

A defendant who is released on their own recognizance is released without having to post bail. This might happen if, for example, the defendant faces very minor charges. 

Although it means there’s no cash bail payable, it’s not the same as a zero bail policy, as it’s offered on a case-by-case basis – it’s not a general policy. 

Is the California Zero Bail Policy Still in Effect?

No. The California zero bail policy of 2022 (and earlier) is no longer in effect. It expired on July 1, 2022.   

Pros and Cons of the CA Zero Bail Policy

US dollar bills between gavel and light wooden table with handcuffs on left side

While there is some suggestion that zero bail may have led to higher crime rates, there’s not enough tangible evidence to show that this is the case. 

However, what’s clear is that the zero bail policy reduced pressure on the justice system by decreasing the number of defendants facing pretrial detention. It also helped to keep jail populations safer by mitigating the spread of a highly contagious – and potentially dangerous – virus. 

How Much Is Bail in LA Now?

There’s no set amount, but bail is usually set in line with bail schedules. A bail schedule is a list of recommendations which judges may refer to when determining the bail amount. For example, in LA, bail can be as low as $35 for infractions, but it will be significantly higher for violent crimes or serious offenses such as robbery.   

What if I Can’t Afford Bail?

It’s not unusual for a defendant or their loved ones to struggle to afford cash bail. If you can’t pay, you may obtain a bail bond instead. 

A bail bond is a guarantee, or surety, that a defendant will meet their bail obligations. In California, it’s usually 10% of the overall bail amount. You may obtain a bail bond from Bail Hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – contact us now to purchase a bail bond. 

How Do I Post Bail in Los Angeles?

The process for posting bail is simple. 

  • If you can afford the whole bail amount, you can pay in person at the county jail where the defendant is held. 
  • If you can’t pay the full amount, you can purchase a bail bond. Contact bail bondsmen who will process the payment and help you arrange bail.  

If you have any questions about posting bail in LA, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Post Bail in Los Angeles With Bail Hotline

Defendants in LA are no longer released on zero bail unless it’s on their own recognizance. If you need a bail bond to secure a loved one’s release from jail, Bail Hotline is here to help. We can process bail bonds 24/7 and we will do everything possible to expedite the bail process. 

Don’t waste precious time searching for a bail bonds company in LA – choose Bail Hotline. Get in touch today or visit one of our local offices.

Branch Office
  • Open 24 Hours