Bail-specific laws, including laws governing bail bonds, is regulated on the state level, which means that the bail laws in San Diego are determined by California State Laws.
The Applicable Statutes in the State of California
The regulatory body for bail bonds in the state of California is the State Insurance Department. Various laws govern the bail bonds industry in the state of California, including:
- California Penal Code
- California Insurance Code
- California Code of Regulations
The bail industry in San Diego is largely regulated by insurance laws and statutes. For instance, the California Insurance Code provides for the duties and requirements for bail bondsmen operating in California. And in essence, each bail agreement must be verified and certified by the Insurance Department before it could be authorized. If there are any insurance companies backing the bail agreements, they must also verify and authorize the same.
In order to operate as a bail bondsman in San Diego, one must also be licensed by the California Department of Insurance. There are three types of bail licenses one can obtain in San Diego, and these include the:
- Bail Agent License
- Bail Permittee License
- Bail Solicitor License
The holder of a bail agents’ license is legally allowed to solicit, negotiate, and effect undertakings of bail on behalf of any surety. And in order to obtain such a bail agents’ license, the following requirements must be met:
- Surety bond of $1,000
- Educational requirements, including 12 hours of classroom education in order to qualify for the written examination, and the annual completion of no less than six hours of continuing classroom education.
- Submission of the appropriate forms and applications, and the payment of fees
And finally, all of what essentially goes on during the bail process is largely determined by the courts and the bail amount that the judges set. Perhaps you have been wondering how judges determine the amount of bail that they set, and by what considerations they base it on.
The reason why defendants are allowed temporary release from jail pending trial is to enable them to prepare as much as they could for their trial, and it is assumed that they can do this better when they have some measure of freedom as they prepare to go to court. But the courts do need to ensure the defendant’s attendance in court, hence bail. Bail is a condition by which a defendant puts up a bond of a definite monetary value as a promise to appear for his court dates, whereby failure to appear means a forfeiture of the bond. The amount of bail, therefore, has to be substantial enough to guarantee the defendant’s compliance with the conditions of bail, while not being too excessive that posting bail is not even an option in the first place.
There are constitutional mandates for this, in both the United States Constitution as well as the California State Constitution. Under both documents, a judge cannot require a defendant to pay “excessive bail.” But of course, even these general principles still turn on several other variables, including the severity of the criminal charges. San Diego county also has a bail schedule which provides for the minimum amount of bail required for specific or particular crimes.