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California Bail Laws

In the United States Constitution, as well as the California State Constitution, mandates those accused of a crime have access to reasonable bail. While the judge considers numerous factors in determining the amount of bail needed to secure release of the accused, such as flight risk and the nature of the crime, the Court had to demonstrate significant cause to deny bail outright.

Bail Bonding Regulations in California

In California the regulatory body for the bail bonding industry is the State Insurance Department, as well as laws contained in California’s Penal Code. California Insurance Code, Div. 1, Part 2, Ch. 7, Sections 1800-1823 stipulates the conditions, duties, and requirements for all bail bondsman in California:

Applicable State Statutes

A. California Insurance Code, Div. 1, Part 2, Ch. 7, Sections 1800-1823, (hereafter referred to as IC).
1) Under IC 1800.6, cities and counties are free to enact further regulations not in conflict with the IC sections cited above in A.

B. California Penal Code, Part 2, Title 10, Ch. 1, Article 5.5, Sections 1299-1317 (hereafter referred to as PC).

C. California Code of Regulations, Title 10, Ch. 5, Sections 2053 et seq.

Licensing Requirements for Agents

A. California provides for three kinds of bail licenses [IC 1801]:

  • the bail agents’ license [IC 1802],
  • the bail permitees’ license [IC 1802.5],
  • the bail solicitors’ license [IC 1803].

Of concern is the bail agents’ license, which permits the holder to solicit, negotiate, and effect undertakings of bail on behalf of any admitted surety. (A license may also be held by a corporation [IC 1810(b)]). The requirements of which license are:

  • a surety bond of $1000 for proper handling of money collected [IC 1802], a notice of appointment on file with commissioner by a surety insurer [IC 1802.1],
  • filing an application in the form prescribed by the commissioner with such supporting documents as required [IC 1804],
  • filing of annual notices and applications to keep licenses in force and payment of fees by 1 May annually [IC 1808],
  • taking and passing a written examination given by the commissioner [IC 1810.5, 1810.6], to qualify for which the applicant must take 12 hours of classroom education in pertinent subjects [IC 1810.7(a)],
  • completion annually of not less than six hours of continuing classroom education on pertinent subjects prior to renewal of license [IC 1810.7(a)],
  • payment of a license application fee of $118.00 [IC 1811(a)],

B. The regulatory body is the Insurance Department