Penal Code Section 1269c - Bail Deviation
When it comes to bail deviations, they can be good or bad as it relates to criminal defense. There is a Bail Commissioner in Los Angeles County who permits some inmates to get a lower bail than what the bail schedule normally would be. In fact, some inmates are able to contact the Bail Commissioner while they're in custody and even get released on their own recognizance which means they don't have to post bail and they can get out just on a promise to a peer.
Another bail issue that relates to a bail deviation in Los Angeles County is when the police or prosecutors attempt to make the bail higher than the bail schedule. The bail schedule, as it relates to bail deviation – has to do with the judges having gotten together and come up with what the appropriate bail is for every single charge in Los Angeles County.
For example, if someone is charged with assault of a deadly weapon, the bail schedule is $50,000.00. But the prosecutors and police can ask the judge to deviate from the bail schedule and make the bail higher. I've seen bails up to a million dollars if someone is using a deadly weapon, is dangerous to the public, haven't done enough to rise to the level of an attempted murder or something but has shown conduct that is very dangerous to human life. The police can then go in and try to get a bail deviation and get a higher bail than what the judge would normally set.
What is a Defense To A Bail Deviation?
A defense attorney in Los Angeles – when the prosecutors are requesting a bail deviation – the defense is entitled to notice of that and the defense can certainly argue against that. Ultimately, the judge is going to make the decision as to what the bail is going to be set at, and of course, people in Los Angeles County who are charged with crimes are presumed innocent, and a defense attorney is going to argue that there shouldn't be a bail deviation and either argue the bail should be set at what the scheduled bail is or you can even argue for a lower bail than what the schedule is.
The judge is going to look at a number of different factors, including flight risk, danger to the public. The judge is going to look at a person's' criminal record. There's a number of different things that can be done and argued and if your client has no criminal record and is certainly not a flight risk because they've lived here all their life, and it can't be argued that they are a danger to the public based on their conduct, then a bail deviation is going to be real tough for the prosecutors to be successful with.
If, on the other hand, your client is very dangerous, is a flight risk, has used a weapon during a crime – then the prosecutors will have a stronger argument that there should be a bail deviation – the bail should be higher than what the bail schedule is.
So, when it comes to bail deviations, obviously you're going to want to get a good criminal defense attorney to fight against that because most people want to be out free while they fight their case, but unfortunately, the biggest thing when it relates to bail deviations is the prosecutor trying to scare the judge in to setting a high bail because the judge is worried that if the judge doesn't set a high bail, somehow this particular defendant is going to hurt somebody in the public or is going to flee and not be able to be got back into the jurisdiction in order to face the charges against them.
What Type of Cases Do Prosecutors Seek Bail Deviations?
The typical cases that I'm seeing bail deviation sought on are violent felonies – shootings, gang-related cases – cases where there's a high degree of violence involved, weapons are involved, and somebody basically can get killed.
The biggest thing that the prosecutors and judges, and even the police are looking at when they deal with people in domestic violence situations and otherwise – is if they let that person out are they going to be putting themselves in a position where that person is going to retaliate against the victim in the case – go and do something deadly to them – and now the family and anybody else that knows about the case is going to be looking at the prosecutor and judge and even police and say, hey you guys had the guy.
Why would you let him go? Now, look what he's done. So, that's really the biggest thing to consider when you're talking about a bail deviation in LA County is, what are the circumstances? What are the chance that the person is going to be dangerous and end up hurting somebody?
If the chances are high that the person is going to hurt somebody and that they're dangerous, then you can bet your bottom dollar that the prosecutors are going to arguing vehemently that there should be a bail deviation. The bail should be hiked up as a high as possible, so the person cannot get out.
When it comes to these type of issues, I have the client or the family of the client – if the client is not available – come in. We go over everything and we make the best argument for bail we can, based on the facts that we have that there should not be a bail deviation and that the client should be let out on a reasonable bail.
There's always a good argument that someone should be receiving a reasonable bail when it comes to these circumstances and that's the argument we're going to make, and if we can bring to bear family in the courtroom, show the person has a good job, has a good reputation in the community, has never acted with any violence before, has never fled the jurisdiction of the court before, has no failures to appear – then we're going to have a strong argument to try to block the bail deviation from occurring.