In California, the justice system aims to provide fair treatment of all people. This includes the “innocent until proven guilty” clause for all people who are arrested. Just because someone gets arrested doesn’t mean they are guilty. They may have been wrongfully arrested! So, to ensure the government does not infringe their rights, the court may set bail.
Bail is an amount of money the arrested person needs to pay so they can leave jail until their court hearing. The arrested person will get this money back at the closure of their court-mandated requirements. If he or she fails to comply with any rules, they will not get this money back – very often a rather large sum of money.
There are various ways to pay for bail: cash, collateral, or a bail bond. Cash – that’s straight-forward. Collateral is property pledged to the court that is of equal value to the bail amount. A bail bond involves a third party, a bail agency, in which the arrested person pays only 10% of their bail amount to the agency, not the court. The agency then provides the bond and is thus responsible for the arrested person.