There is never a good time to find out someone you care for has been arrested by the Palo Alto Police Department. This news can have your stomach feeling as if it’s being turned inside out. Finding out their bail has been set in the tens of thousands of dollars is even more shocking. Why is it so so high? Is this a mistake?
Some people will drive down to the jail to see if they can negotiate a lower rate. This will not be possible. The defendant’s bail is not set based on their age or gender. The crime they are being charged with will be checked against the county bail schedule. This document is set each year by a panel of judges and it lets the jailer know which monetary amounts are to correspond with different crimes. The only person who has the authority to raise or lower bail is a judge
The cost to hire a Palo Alto bondsman will be based on the defendant’s bail amount. That rate will be 10%. If bail has been set at $30,000 you can expect to pay $3,000 to purchase a bond. Ten percent can often translate into thousands of dollars, and many people find themselves sticker shocked. On one hand, they want to get their loved one out of jail as fast as possible, on the other, they want to be sure they can get the absolute best deal on a bond.
Many people try to negotiate a lower rate if they pay up front, in cash. In other cases they will call around from company to company to see if someone is offering a better deal. Some clients try to play two companies against each other. “The guy down the street said he could do it for X amount, can you match or beat that? If so, I’ll go with you.”
People do not realize that the cost to purchase Palo Alto bail bonds is set according to state law. Every company is required to charge the same rate. A bondsman who charges more or less than the legal rate is subject to fines, penalties, the loss of their bail license, criminal prosecution and even jail time.
This can be confusing. What about that company down the street that has a sign offering “cheap bail bonds”? This is little more than “bait and switch” marketing. Some unscrupulous agents will put up signage offering cheap or discount bail bonds. This lures clients into their office because they think they will be getting a deal. They soon find out the discount percentage they saw on the sign refers to the amount of money they will need to put down in order to be eligible for a payment plan. They will still need to pay the full 10% amount before the balance will be resolved.
On the other hand, if the bondsman is offering you cheap Palo Alto bail bonds, buyer beware. This person is breaking the law. Do you really feel comfortable doing business with someone who is being unlawful in order to make a sale? Can you be sure they won’t try to extort more money out of you after the defendant gets out of jail? If you have been asked to post collateral, can you be positive you’ll get it back?
Buying cheap bail bonds can seem like a good idea at first but they can wind up costing you a lot more in the long run.