Television shows frequently portray bail being set at a judge during a hearing, but the process is actually a lot less formal.
When someone is arrested and taken to the Maguire Jail, the crime they are being charged with will be cross-referenced with the San Mateo County Bail Schedule. The bail schedule is a document that is set each year by a panel of judges and it tells law enforcement officials which bail amounts are to correspond with which crimes. Minor crimes have lesser bail amounts than do serious crimes. First-time offenders will generally be assigned a lower bail amount than someone who has a prior history of arrest.
Bail can either be posted in full at the jail in cash (cash bond), a deed of trust to a property can be posted at the jail in lieu of bail (property bond), or you can hire a bail bondsman to purchase a bail bond. You should keep in mind that property bonds require a lot of leg work and can often take 30 to 60 days to process. Cash bail and property bonds are returned to the person who posted it as long as the defendant makes all of their required court appearances. The money you pay to a bail bondsman, though, is a non-refundable fee for the service they provide. The cost to purchase San Mateo bail bonds is 10% of the defendant’s total bail amount.
Bailing someone out of jail allows them time to consult with an attorney and prepare their case. If someone is unable to post bail they will need to remain in custody until their case is resolved in court.