Being arrested is a stressful situation for anyone who has ever experienced it. There is a common misconception that a person must sit in jail until a judge grants them bail, but this is hardly ever the case. Most crimes have a specific bail amount that is required for a person to be released. These amounts vary widely depending on the specific crime that a person is being accused of and the county is which they are charged. Santa Barbara County’s legal system is set up to allow most people accused of crimes to go free while awaiting trial.
A bail schedule is a list of common crimes that might be committed within a county and the preset bail amounts attached to each of these crimes. Once a person sees a judge, these bail amounts can be increased or decreased at the judge’s sole discretion. Because of this, it is often pertinent for a person to contact a bail bond agency to get out of jail before a judge has the option to consider aggravated circumstances in a case.
Santa Barbara’s bail schedule lists just about any crime that a person may commit, but it also states that if a person is arrested for a felony that isn’t listed on the bail schedule, their bail should be set at twenty thousand dollars minimum. The schedule also describes a method through which an amount listed on the schedule can be increased for certain offenders if a peace officer feels that it is warranted.
Misdemeanor charges are considered less serious than felony charges. Several misdemeanors are specifically listed on Santa Barbara’s bail schedule. If a person sells, buys or possesses an unmarked firearm, for instance, their bail amount will be set at ten thousand dollars. A person who sells or possesses a tear gas weapon will face a $2,500 bail amount.
There is a preset bail amount of five thousand dollars if a person possesses, sells or manufactures a knife disguised as a lipstick tube, but most misdemeanor offenses are not specified in the bail schedule by anything other than the section of the law that they fall under. This county’s officials realize that weapons are a serious problem in the area, so weapons charges are all listed by name.
Felony convictions usually bring with them at least one year in prison. Santa Barbara County takes felony charges very serious, but most all of these charges still have a preset bail amount. In fact, the only time the schedule mentions holding a person without bail is when they are being charged with a murder involving special circumstances.
A person accused of murder with no special circumstances is bailable at one million dollars. Even attempted murder carries with it a steep bail amount, but it is listed as $500,000, which makes it only half of the bail amount required for accused murderers. One crime that many people wouldn’t even know exists is using information on a sex offender website to commit a felony, which brings with it a $25,000 bail amount. This bail amount will of course be superseded by a higher bail amount if the felony committed has a higher amount listed.
Anyone who has ever been arrested knows that the situation is an extreme hardship. What you may not know is that the quickest way to accomplish your release is to contact Bail Hotline; with locations in all the major counties of California, their agents know the bail schedules and can have a person out of jail within a few hours. Santa Barbara County does take a harsh stance on crime, but their bail schedule ensures that jails do not become overpopulated due to minor offenders.
Click here for complete Santa Barbara County 2012 Bail Schedules.