Buffin judgment and bail

Effective midnight February 20, 2020, the Sheriff's Office will no longer use the San Francisco Superior Court's felony and misdemeanor bail schedule to release people from jail. If you are arrested and booked into jail, a judicial officer may set bail for your release.

In this page:
What is bail?

Bail is cash, bond, or property you give to the courts to get released from jail. If you show up to every appearance, the court will return your cash, bond, or property when your case is finished.

Please note that if you use a bail bond service to post bail, fees may be deducted from the money you provide for bail. 

What is the Buffin judgment?

In September 2019, a federal court judge ruled in the "Buffin court case" that the Sheriff's use of the San Francisco Superior Court felony and misdemeanor bail schedule was unconstitutional.

Effective midnight February 20, 2020, the Sheriff's Office will no longer use the court's bail schedule to release people from San Francisco county jail to comply with the Buffin judgment.

New procedures accelerate the San Francisco Superior Court's Own Recognizance or "O.R." pre-arraignment release process for eligible defendants.

A judicial officer may set bail prior to, during or after arraignment.

Find out if someone can be released on bail

Use our search tool: “Find a person in jail.” When you find who you’re looking for, look at the information under the heading that says “Total Bond.”  This will tell you if the courts have set bail for the person in jail and their bail amount. 

Find out if bail's been set

Find a person in jail
Posting bail

You can post bail once a judicial officer has set bail as long as:

  • We have verified your identity

  • You don’t have any out-of-county, no-bail arrest warrants or no-bail holds

To post bail:

  • Contact a bail bond agency for help. Fees may apply. You can search for bail bond agencies online, in the yellow pages, or on a list in the jail lobby. The Sheriff’s Office also posts bail bond agency information in jail housing areas and holding cells. 

  • To pay full cash bail, go to Room 460 at 850 Bryant St., San Francisco. Call (415) 553-1430 for more information.

Bail inquiry form

Bail agencies and bail bond representatives must download, complete, and present a Bail Inquiry Form to the Sheriff’s Office before visiting a person in jail or dropping off a bond.

Download the form