What is L.A. County’s New Zero Bail Policy?

October 10, 2023
R.J. Dreiling

Effective October 1, 2023, Los Angeles County implemented a new bail policy for people arrested for non-serious, non-violent offenses. Traditionally, if someone is arrested and being held in jail, they have to be brought before a judge within two business days of their arrest (“arraignment”).  If a person wanted to get out of custody before going in front of a judge, they have to pay a certain amount of money (“bail”) usually paid by a bail bondsman in exchange for a small fee.  They get the bail back once their case is over if they make all their court appearances.  

The new rules apply to the time frame for people held in custody after their arrest but before their first appearance in front of a judge.  Now, certain people charged with misdemeanors or non-serious, non-violent felonies can be released before their appearance at the arraignment.  The list of eligible offenses is here.  For certain offenses like petty theft, trespassing, possession of a controlled substance and public intoxication, people will be released from custody at the scene of their arrest (“Cite and Release”).  For offenses like assault, false imprisonment they will be released after being booked at the police station (“Book and Release”).  And, lastly, offenses like violation of a restraining order and domestic violence require review by a magistrate who reviews the reports and decided whether the person should be released, post bail, or released with conditions (likely things like an alcohol monitor, or enrollment in mental health classes).  People who are on parole or post release supervision are not eligible to be released under this program.