When someone is arrested for a crime, their bail amount is set pursuant to the Los Angeles County Bail Schedule. Depending on the nature and severity of the crime, bail can be set at tens of thousands of dollars – if not more. Often, people simply lack the funds to pay the full amount of bail to get out of jail. Below are your options if you find yourself in this situation.

Wait in Jail

The first and most obvious option is to wait in jail until your court date. You’re entitled to a “fair and speedy trial” by the US Constitution. However, the length of time you have to wait in jail will depend on how many cases the courts have ahead of you and the crime you were arrested for.

Ask the Judge to Reduce Bail

Often, when someone is unable to afford bail, they can ask the judge to reduce it. It’s pretty common for a judge to reduce someone’s bail so that they can get out of jail. But, if you’re accused of certain serious, violent, or sex crimes, the judge may be unwilling to do so.

Ask Friends and Family for Help

Being arrested can be scary, but you aren’t necessarily in it alone. If you can’t afford bail yourself, you can ask friends or family to help you out. As long as you make sure to appear before the court at the appointed date and time, the bail amount will be refunded to whoever pays it (minus any relevant court fees).

Hire a Bail Bondsman

Bail bonds are far less expensive than the full bail amount. Additionally, you can hire a bail bondsman and have bail posted any time of day or night, 365 days a year. If you choose to pay your bail directly to the courts, you have to do so during court business hours, which are usually Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5 pm.