We’ve all heard of it, but unless you need it you probably have no idea exactly how it works or how to get it. The idea behind bail is to prevent a defendant from running away after he or she has been arrested. The theory is that if someone puts up a large amount of money, he is not likely to walk away from it. The other reason to set bail is, danger to the community. The more serious the crime the higher the bail.
Recently there has been a move to change the structure of bail as some feel it discriminates against poor people. Although the bail amount is determined by the severity of the crime not the financial status of the person who committed it, clearly someone who is poor will have a harder time affording it than someone who is wealthy.
The amount of the bail is pre-set according to a bail schedule, based on the seriousness of the crime. The theory is that if someone posts a million dollars of bail money, he is likely to show up in court to protect his money. The more serious the crime, the more incentive a defendant might have to flee from punishment, so the higher the bail.
So what do you do if you are arrested, in regard to bail? The single smartest move you can make is to contact a criminal defense attorney. The attorney, through knowledge and contacts, might be able to get the bail amount lowered or even removed so that you can leave on your own recognizance or OR. That means you give a written promise to appear at a later date and the court allows you to leave. This is done when A) the offense charged is not too serious and B) you demonstrate that you have enough ties to the community (like owning a business or home, working at a job, having a family that you are close to) that it is unlikely that you will flee. An experienced attorney knows how to present this evidence to give you the best chance of getting an OR.
And, if there is no escaping bail, your attorney can arrange for a reputable bail bondsman to help you.
In order to post bail you either have to pay the full amount, say $25,000 or a percentage of the amount due to a bail bond agent. If you pay the full amount, that amount will be returned to you in full when your case is completed. If a bail bondsman arranges the bail, the amount you pay to him is a fee that you do not get back. That is because the agent is taking the risk of losing his money if you don’t show up in court. Almost always, the bail bondsman will charge less if the client has hired an attorney. So, instead of paying all the bail premium to the bondsman you can use it to assist you in hiring a lawyer.
The best thing to do when you are faced with a bail issue is to call my office at 714-544-9844 so I can help to arrange bail on your behalf saving you money and giving you great representation on your case.