Bailing Someone Out of Jail vs. Retaining a Criminal Lawyer
Bail refers to funds deposited by a defendant or another person that is primarily designed to ensure they will attend all future court appearances. Bail can be posted with cash or in the form of a bond that is secured from a bail bondsman.
Bail is not required in all criminal offenses, rather it normally depends on the severity of the crime. The amount of bail could be a set amount that a judge has the discretion to either raise or lower.
The decision is typically based on defendant's prior criminal record and the circumstances of the case.
Many defendants that are arrested for a misdemeanor or felony crime have little or no experience dealing with the Los Angeles criminal justice system.
Clearly, being detained in jail after an arrest is a stressful event for most people and their families. While some defendants are able post bail and get released from jail while their case is pending, most can't afford it.
Further, first-time defendants typically have no idea how to post bail or even how the bail process works.
Most people know that under out our legal system, defendants are presumed innocent until they are proven guilty.
There is a valid concern, however, that criminal defendants released from custody while their case is pending will attempt to flee the area to avoid prosecution. In an effort to prevent this, the courts rely on the bail system.
Put simply, bail is money that has to be posted with the court so a defendant can be released from jail while their case is pending. After the case is resolved, the bail money is returned.
Readers should note that on October 1, 2019, California's bail system dramatically changed after the passage of Senate Bill 10. In short, SB-10 provides for the elimination of cash bail to be replaced with a system of judicial discretion for a felony case and no bail required for a misdemeanor.
How Does a Judge Set Bail?
In California, every individual county has a local bail schedule for certain types of crimes. Thus, after you are arrested, your family can view the bail schedule themselves or simply ask a bail bondsman to determine the bail amount.
If are arrested for a misdemeanor offense, such as DUI with no accident or injuries, then you will normally be released with no bail after getting booked at the jail.
If your crime is included on the bail schedule, then the jail will normally require that amount be paid or a bond posted. The arresting officer could request your bail be at an amount that is more than the bail schedule indicates.
At your arraignment, which is the first court appearance after arrest, the judge will either continue the bail or modify it. Your criminal defense attorney could request a hearing on your bail within two days after your arraignment to challenge it.
After the bail hearing, the court has the option to leave the bail amount as is, increase it, decrease it, or release you on your own recognizance (OR).
Here are the bail schedules for Los Angeles County:
What is More Important in a Criminal Case: Bailing Someone Out or Hiring and Attorney?
Believe it or not, this question comes up all the time and it's a valid question, because usually what happens is, a person gets arrested and they want to get out immediately, and the person that's typically in custody and wants to get out, really doesn't care about anything else except getting out.
They don't even know or realize that the attorney is the most important thing because getting out is a temporary thing, while getting an experienced criminal defense attorney is crucial and will help you resolve your case.
That's what you have to realize. Sometimes, if you're on the outside and one of your loved ones is on the inside, you've got to take the bull by the horns and realize what's best for that person.
If you bail them out and then they just go back to what got them in trouble in the first place, and don't have an attorney by their side that can help them out with their criminal case, then it really doesn't do you much good.
So, the answer to the question is very simple: hire the attorney first. You can even take it a step further because the attorney has the ability to get your loved one out of custody.
The attorney can argue for an OR release, can argue for a lower bail. The attorney can also tell you whether it makes sense to bail your loved one out.
When Should You Not Bail Someone Out of Jail?
A lot of people might say, why wouldn't we bail the person out? Here are a couple of reasons:
- Sometimes, they have a very bad criminal record;
- Sometimes, they are definitely looking at jail or even prison time.
So, why would you waste the money to bail them out, only to have them go back in again?
Or, they won't want to go back in again and they're going to make foolish decision while they're on the outside, only to cause them to get a much harsher sentence.
These are the type of things you have to think about. These are the type of things you have to bounce off an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Contact the Hedding Law Firm for Help with Bail Issues
If you're on the outside and your loved one is on the inside and you're looking to make a decision on what your best move is, I suggest you pick up the phone.
Call my office. Ask for a meeting with me. If you're serious about hiring one of the best criminal defense attorneys in LA county, you've come to the right place.
Early in my career, I worked to the District Attorney's office; then I worked for a Superior Court Judge because I was looking to get complete knowledge on how to handle a criminal case.
Finally, in 1994 I put up my own shingle and I've been a criminal defense attorney ever since, so I know what it takes to be successful, such as:
- I know what it takes to win a case;
- I know what it takes to negotiate a case;
- I know when you should bail your loved one out versus hiring the attorney.
Sometimes people have the luxury of bailing the person out and hiring an attorney, which I certainly understand. And, depending on the circumstances of the case, I may advise you to bail the person out.
So, pick up the phone now. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. I stand at the ready to help you. Hedding Law Firm is located in Los Angeles County and we offer a free case evaluation by calling (213) 542-0979.