How Does The Bail Or Bond Process Work In California?
Bail is a cash deposit, a security, or a bond that allows someone who has been arrested to be released from physical custody (jail) until their court date. Every defendant has a constitutional right to bail except for those charged with capital offenses, felony offenses with “acts of violence”, and felony sexual assault, or those on parole or immigration holds.
Bail is an interesting and evolving issue here in California. Because the purpose of bail is never to punish the defendant, there is new legislation to limit cash bail in situations where not doing so would effectively target a person who has a low income. For example, a wealthy person would have no problem getting out of custody if their bail was set for $50,000, but an individual who has a very low income would. This legislation is currently on hold, pending a determination whether or not it is constitutional. It is a very thorny issue because the United States Constitution says that everyone is entitled to bail.
Bail is set by a schedule that is agreed upon by the superior courts in the given jurisdiction, and it is generally set according the nature of the crime (meaning each enhancing or aggravating factor can increase the set amount). Each judge, however, has a fair amount of discretion to factor in your flight risk, your criminal history, and your ties to the community. The main point of bail is to ensure the safety of the public and to ensure the defendant’s appearance in court. Bail also is intended to fit with the presumption of innocence guaranteed under the Constitution.
There are bail bond professionals who can manage bail for accused persons. Not everyone has $50,000, $100,000, or $1,000,000, and sometimes in fraud cases, bail is higher because it is set according to the value of the loss. If the person doesn’t have that kind of money lying around, a bondsman will post a bond in exchange for a percentage of the bond amount. Typically, it is ten percent and some form of collateral that a bond agent will allow signature on. The purpose of the bail is to let the accused go free until the resolution of his or her case. Once the bond is posted, the accused is released, the bond premium is earned, and the accused will not get that money back.
It is very important to choose a reputable bond agent—just like lawyers, some bond agents are better than others. Some bond agents charge a premium that is good for one year, and after the expiration of the year, they are back asking for the premium of eight to ten percent of the bond; if the client does not have the money, they will be put back into custody. I recommend that all persons who are seeking bond in California look for a bail agent who charges a one-time premium and renews the premium every year without charging more money.
What Happens When I Bond Out Of Jail In California?
A defendant will be given papers when they get out of jail. Those papers will list the date and location of their next court appearance. At that point, the defendant can retain an attorney. If a defendant has a public defender, then they will have to appear in court every time, but misdemeanor clients who have a private lawyer can sometimes have their lawyer appear on their behalf according to California Penal Code Section 977. Felony clients must go to every single proceeding unless the client’s lawyer acquires written 977 authority approved by the court. If a client is out of the county, state, or country, our legal team at The Law Office of Edward R. Flores will try to obtain 977 authority to appear without them being present.
The arraignment will be the first court appearance, during which the defendant will enter a plea of not guilty. At this point, the defense lawyer will not yet have seen the complaint or evidence, such as police reports, audio tapes, and video footage. Since the defense attorney will have not had the time to review all of the evidence and determine how strong of a defense he can build, it does not make sense for the defendant to plead guilty at this first court appearance.
After the arraignment, the attorney will gather all the information necessary to evaluate the case and inform the client of his or her rights and possible defenses. These are pre-trials, which can happen any number of times in the period of time leading up to a jury trial for a misdemeanor. For a misdemeanor case, it will go to arraignment, pre-trial, and then jury trial if the case cannot be resolved. For a felony case, it will go to arraignment, pre-trial, and then a preliminary hearing.
During the preliminary hearing, the court will determine whether there is sufficient cause to believe that the crime was committed, and that the accused person committed it. Rather than stating that the defendant is guilty, the prosecutors will sometimes just say that there is enough evidence for the prosecution to go to trial and let the jury decide. If the defendant gets held to answer, which means the court has made that specific factual finding, then the process will start all over again; if it doesn’t get held to answer, then the prosecution can decide to refile or dismiss the case. In most cases, they will refile it and start from the beginning.
Bail Bond Attorney Edward Flores Is Here To Help
Posting bail can be intimidating, even when going through a reputable bond agent. If you or a loved one has been arrested or needs help securing bail here in Orange, CA, bail bond attorney Edward Flores can assist you through the entire process, from choosing a reputable bond agent to preparing for the preliminary hearing.
Here at The Law Office of Edward R. Flores, we offer personal case evaluations for Southern California and Orange County, including the cities of Orange, Santa Ana, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, and Irvine, as well as all of South Orange County. We can answer any questions you might have related to bail laws and procedures in California. Orange County bail bond attorney Edward Flores and his legal team have provided personal representation for hundreds of defendants and their families as they navigate the bail bond process.
After an arrest, don’t leave your freedom or that of a loved one to chance. For help with posting bail, contact our law office today.
For more information on Bail/Bond Process in the State of California, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (714) 689-2660 today.
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