Harassment In California – Penal Code 646. 9 (a)

When you work with our team, we will guide you through each step of the bail bonds process, from the initial arrest to your bail bond being exonerated.

Our bail bondsman’s goal is to help you get your friend or loved one out of jail as quickly as possible.

The Bail Bonds Process

When in jail for a domestic abuse charge such as harassment, an individual should try to get out quickly.Here is the most common process people go through, from arrest to getting out on bail:

  1. You are arrested on a domestic violence charge.
  2. The next morning, you must appear before a judge who will go over your case, dictate a penalty, and set bail if the sentence includes jail time.
  3. The bail amount will depend on factors such as criminal history and the seriousness of the charge.
  4. Your loved ones might want to get you out of jail, but not have enough money to post bail.
  5. They can contact a bail agency for help, which usually requires them to put down a percentage of the amount (sometimes 10%, but this can vary depending on the charges).
  6. The person who is interested in bailing you out (known as a co-signer or indemnitor) has the legal responsibility for the bail bond and is responsible for the defendant’s appearing in court.
  7. Even if your loved ones still don’t have enough money to put this percentage down, they can use a valuable item as collateral, like a car, while the rest is paid in cash.
  8. After the bond agency accepts the payment, they begin working on the indemnity agreement paperwork and contacting the jail where you are detained to arrange your release.
  9. A bail bond agent from the agency will take care of the rest, posting bail at the jail where you are arrested and securing your release.
  10. Please remember that although this process can be completed if everything’s done correctly, an agency cannot begin working until the defendant has been through the process of arrest and booking, which can take longer.

Recently, there has been increased attention brought to domestic violence cases from the media, lawmakers, and society, resulting in strict penalties for anyone convicted, so your process may vary or may even be altered by the notoriety of your charge.

How Much Is Bail For Harassment?

The specific accusations a person will face when detained in a domestic violence situation will be determined according to what they did specifically.

Domestic abuse incidents are usually graded as incidents of a misdemeanor. In this case, the initial payment of the bail is typically approximately 10 percent. However, a vast number of technicalities can influence the cost of the bail bond on domestic violence. A harassment violation is a “wobbler” offense, which means that it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.

The misdemeanor offense shall be punishable by:

  • Up to one year in county jail
  • Misdemeanor probation (summary probation)

And if charged as a felony, the offense is punishable by:

  • Up to five years in state prison
  • Felony probation (formal probation)

The defendant is usually charged with a battery if they hit their significant other. The defendant may also be convicted of felony domestic violence, which is likely to amount to a $50,000 bail if the injury caused is serious enough. Also, if the defendant threatens someone else, he or she is accused of criminal threats.

What Is Considered Harassment?

The Penal Code 646.9(a) of California defines the crime of stalking as willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly following, harassing, or making a credible threat to another person with the intent that the victim fears for his or her safety. Stalking or harassment  can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. The conviction carries a penalty of up to 5 years in jail or prison.

Stalking and harassment are often used interchangeably. However, the offenses are similar, but different, and can cause physical, psychological, and emotional harm to the victims, and even their families.

Stalking could be defined in California as an individual who fears the safety of themselves or their families and makes them feel threatened, humiliated, or distressed. Stalking is repeatedly a result of harassment, threatening, or any combination of them.

To be convicted of harassment in California, the prosecutors must prove that the defendant did the next particular things:

  • Harassed a person in a willfully and malicious way
  • Threatened a person with credible information
  • Threatened a person’s safety with the specific intent of causing fear, including their family.
  • If the victim issued a restraining order on the defendant in the past. In this case, the existence of the restraining order needs to be proven by the prosecutor.

Like many California laws, the 646.9 PC is a “wobbler,” as it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances. There are two situations, however, in which stalking/harassment will always be charged as a felony:

  • If the defendant has prior stalking/harassment convictions
  • If there was a court-issued order of protection in place for the victim’s safety

Examples of Harassment Under California Law

“Harassment” applies to a wide variety of actions subject both to criminal and civil accountability. On the criminal front, states have many different laws prohibiting harassment, including general and specific forms of harassment, such as stalking and cyberstalking.

Some examples of harassment are:

  • Calling a coworker every night without the person’s consent and assuring them that you are going to be together soon, whether the person likes it or not.
  • Sending an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend dead flowers every Monday with threatening messages such as “ I see you, you’re next”
  • Sending a neighbor a letter or a text message every day, saying they should “find a way to shut up their dogs or else.”
  • Innuendos directed at an individual
  • Sending unwanted communication through the internet in a persistent way, such as spamming someone’s email inbox or social media platforms
  • Posting personal information about someone on public internet forums
  • Remarks about a person’s body or how they dress
  • Unwelcome date requests
  • Inappropriate physical contact or comments
  • Using GPS or other tracking systems to monitor someone without their consent

Getting Out Of Jail When Arrested For Harassment In California

According to California Penal Code Section 1203.097, the court is required to impose certain probation terms that are mandatory, such as a protective order or a batterers’ class. However, the court and prosecutor will often take the defendant’s lack of record into account and may impose terms of probation designed to correct behaviors rather than punish.

If someone is abused or harassed, the best way to get legal protection against the abuse or harassment must be decided by the victim. A variety of elements must be taken into consideration for this, such as: how the individual is related to the victim, what is the age of the harassed individual, and the type of abuse or harassment. Once this is considered, the law states what kind of protection a person may request and what they must prove to obtain this protection.

Legal defenses against the criminal charge of harassment often include the following:

  • The threat is not credible
  • The alleged victim made the story up
  • There was no malicious intention of causing fear
  • The accused participated in a constitutionally protected activity

If you or a family member have been arrested for a domestic violence offense, it is crucial to meet with a domestic violence criminal defense attorney immediately.

If you need help with your bail, call now for 24-hour domestic violence bail bond services: (800) 224-5911.

We have several offices throughout Southern California where we can meet you. Check out the map below to find the location closest to you. We have convenient locations in Santa Ana, Newport Beach, Norwalk, Torrance, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Pedro, Lakewood, Whittier, & Anaheim.

Harassment FAQ

A- There are three key things you need to know:


  • Where is the defendant in custody? Includes city, state, and prison names.
  • What is the person’s full name and booking number in jail? To contact the jail, the bail agent will need this information.
  •  How much is the bail? With the bail number, you will tell the bail bondsman how much it would cost to post a bond and conditions to get the person out of jail.

A – It can be anywhere, usually by people in relationships, families, or marriages. People who have children together can be domestically abused as well. It doesn’t matter if it’s on the street, in the home, in the car, or in a hospital. It is considered domestic abuse if you are in an intimate relationship with them (marriage, relationship, family, etc.).

A- Technically speaking, unless you have extenuating circumstances, you cannot leave the State unless you are on bail. The local court handling your case and the bonding company who wrote your bail bond must pre-approve these rare occurrences that could cause you to leave the State.

A- There is no specific answer, it all depends on the conditions, such as what prison the prisoner is in, what crime has been committed, the amount of bail, and the duration of the court case. Typically bail is set the day after the defendant is charged, but if the arrest occurs on a weekend or night, they will have to wait for the court’s next business day to see a judge and get bail.

While this is a challenging and stressful situation, you can try to converse with an organization without any time expectations. Bail bond agencies are great at telling you how long the process should take for your loved one to be out of jail and keeping you updated every step of the way.

A – There is no actual guideline that defines every single item you can use as collateral for bail. The five most commonly used items are vehicle, real estate, precious metals and jewelry, savings and investments, and pawnable items.

A- If this is allowed by your agreement with the bail bond provider, you may revoke your agreement and cancel your responsibility for the bail. You will do so if you suspect the defendant is trying to miss a bail date or is not meeting the bail conditions. If you want to cancel a bond, please contact the agent as soon as possible. The lawyer will notify the court, and the suspect will be held by some means before he or she can obtain bail. Fees may be associated with canceling a bond, which will be explained to you by the agent.

A – Expungement of your criminal conviction under PC 646.9 is possible if you were convicted of a misdemeanor or otherwise did not serve time in state prison, a factor that will render your conviction ineligible for expungement relief. A felony in California under this code section, however, provides for state prison time.

Harassment is charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony under the California law. Expungement rules vary according to the situation.

An expungement does not result in the complete eradication of your conviction record. It remains accessible to persons considering you for public employees and law enforcement and court personnel for a sentence enhancement if you commit a subsequent felony offense.

A- Non Citizens should be aware that an automatic immigration hold can be triggered by being arrested or detained for a domestic violence offense.

Whenever a noncitizen ends up in custody, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would be notified, and the noncitizen would be placed in an immigration hold, which will prevent them from being released from custody. This hold tells the jail not to release the noncitizen, even at the end of the sentence of custody. Instead, DHS will place the noncitizen in federal custody once the prison term is finished and the removal proceedings begin.

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