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#403 Bail

mp3 #403 Bail - What It Is and How to Get It (mp3 file)


An experienced Criminal Law attorney can often times reduce the amount of bail necessary to maximize your freedom while your case is pending. Posting bail allows you to focus on your case and facilitates communication between you and your attorney. Continue below to be referred to an experienced and insured Criminal Law attorney:


Bail is an amount of money or property which is deposited with the court by a person who has been accused of a crime. Usually, a person who has been arrested by the police and booked into jail will not be released immediately until some form of bail has been posted. This message will explain the forms of bail, and the procedures for posting of bail.

In California, most crimes are bailable offenses except for some murders, other felony offenses involving acts of violence, and cases where a defendant has threatened another person with great bodily harm. That is, for most offenses, you have a right to be released on bail. The amount of bail which must be posted is set by the court. When a person is first booked, and until the defendant gets into court, the police will usually set the amount of bail, using a published schedule which has been decided upon by the judges in your county.

When a person has been arrested, the main interest of the court is to clear the matter up as quickly as possible. In order to do this, it is necessary that the accused person be present in court for all of the various proceedings. Bail is your guarantee to the court that you will be there for all scheduled appearances.

The court cannot require you to post excessive amounts of bail, so the bail you are required to post must be reasonable under the circumstances.

When the court fixes the amount of bail for each case, the court takes into consideration the seriousness of the offense charged, the previous criminal record of the person charged, the safety of the community, and the probability that the person charged will appear in court for all scheduled proceedings.

All persons arrested have the right to at least three completed telephone calls to arrange for bail or an attorney. Persons taken into custody on traffic or parking warrants also have the right to post cash bail and no less than three hours to arrange for bail before being booked, photographed, finger printed and having an arrest record made.

Bail may be posted in cash or in property, and may be posted by yourself or by someone on your behalf. The most common way of bailing out, is to have a bail bondsman post a bond on behalf of the accused person. When you go through a bail bondsman, you are purchasing an insurance policy. You pay 10% of the bail to the bondsman as a premium on the policy, and then the insurance company deposits the full amount of the bail with the court. If you make all of the appearances during the court case, the insurance company gets all of the money back at the end of the case. However, the 10% you paid is a premium payment, and you will not get that 10% back. In addition to the 10% payment, the bondsman will require you to sign an agreement that some of your property can be taken by the bondsman, if you fail to appear. At the end of the case, if you have failed to appear without being excused by the court, the insurance company must hand over the full amount of the bail to the court. The company will then take legal action against you, to collect the property you have put up as collateral.

Another way to post bail is to put up a cash bond with the court. If you deposit the whole amount of your bail with the court, at the end of the case you will receive all of your money back, if you have made all your appearances. By doing this, you save the 10% you would have paid to a bondsman.

In any case in which an accused person is arrested without a warrant for a bailable felony offense, the accused may submit an affidavit to the court requesting that bail be set in an amount lower than the amount set forth in the bail schedule. The affidavit may be submitted by the accused personally, or through an attorney, or by a friend, or by a family member. This affidavit for reduced bail, must set forth the facts and circumstances which would support a lower bail. If there are facts, which can be verified by the court, which would show good reason for releasing the accused on lower bail, the judge will consider these facts when setting bail. Remember that your affidavit must give the judge reason to believe that you, the accused, will appear in court as scheduled. This affidavit may also be used to request that you, the arrested person, may be released on your own recognizance.

Sometimes an accused person might be released on his or her own recognizance, known as "O.R" for short. This means being released by putting up one's promise, rather than posting money or property. You may be released on "O.R" at the court's "discretion". This means that the court may release you "O.R", after considering the facts and circumstances of your case; however, no one is absolutely entitled to an "O.R". release as a right. In deciding whether or not to grant an "O.R", the court will consider the seriousness of the offense charged, any previous criminal record, any previous failures to appear on court cases, the safety of the community, the likelihood of continued criminal conduct, and the probability that the person charged will make all scheduled appearances.

If you post bail, and you then fail to appear for any scheduled appearance, your bail will be forfeited and you will not receive back any money or property you have put up. If you fail to appear while released on bail, or if you are released on your own recognizance, and you then fail to appear for any scheduled appearance, you may be charged with a completely separate criminal offense, called "failure to appear." when you fail to appear for any scheduled court appearance, the court may also issue a bench warrant for your immediate arrest.

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