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Laws prohibit municipal governments from serving as bails bondsmen

There are currently two bail bond companies serving the city of Sunnyside, Egley's and All City Bail Bonds.

The two companies have been licensed by the state of Washington to issue bonds when an individual is taken into police custody.

Sunnyside Police Sgt. John Chumley said bail amounts are set by the legislature and outlined in the RCWs to regulate the amount an individual must pay to get out of jail.

"When a person is arrested and booked into jail, there are a number of circumstances that influence the bail and whether or not the individual is booked," he said.

The seriousness of the crime, whether or not the individual has valid identification and the individual's ties to the community can all be taken into account when bail is set.

Misdemeanor crimes, Chumley said, can result in an individual booked into the Sunnyside jail being released within minutes if they make bail.

"Bail bonds companies operate based on a fee that is regulated by law...they are privately owned and licensed by the state and the court system to place a bond in lieu of cash for bail," he said.

The bail for felony cases must be decided on in a preliminary hearing. A judge weighs the many factors of the case and the individual's circumstances before setting bail.

The judge, said Chumley, can raise or lower the bail, depending upon the facts presented to him or her.

An example of a standard bail would be for a driving while license suspended third degree. The standard bail for that charge is $500, which can be posted by the individual or a bail bondsman within hours or minutes of the individual being taken into custody.

The person, however, has to go through the booking process before being released.

"Those facing felony charges are booked locally, but they are transported to the Yakima County Detention Center," Chumley noted, stating a person booked for a felony warrant, however, might remain at the local jail until bail is posted if the warrant allows for it.

"The police department cannot act as a bail bonds company," said Chumley, stating a municipal entity is prohibited from acting as a bail bonds company because it is a conflict of interest and it would be competing with private enterprises.

Also, the state and courts must license any bail bonds companies, he added.

As for timing factors, Chumley said a bail bondsman must wait for an individual to be booked before that individual can be released.

"The booking process is for record keeping and identification purposes," he said.


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