Can Bail Be Changed In A Los Angeles Criminal Cases After A Preliminary Hearing?
The answer to this question is yes. Bail can be changed after a preliminary hearing. It can go up or down or remain the same. Obviously, it will remain the same unless one of the parties – either the prosecutors or the defense – request a higher or lower bail. Basically, once a bail is set at the arraignment in Los Angeles County, that’s the bail for the remainder of the case unless one party can argue that there are changed circumstances.
Changed circumstances have to do with something new something in the case that’s meaningful. For example, the prosecutors can try to raise the bail if they can get extra charges filed against a criminal defendant in Los Angeles that make it possible for that defendant to get more jail or prison time in their criminal case. The defense can also ask to lower the bail if they can show that some of the charges were dismissed, for example. Then their criminal penalties are less. Also, enhancements get dismissed in a criminal case that carries a lot of time if they were found guilty of that particular case, then the defense has a good argument to lower the bail. That’s important sometimes when you have defendants who are in custody and want to get out of custody while their case is pending and help in the defense of their criminal case.
So, after the preliminary hearing, it’s definitely a good time to argue the bail for the defense if the defense can show the case is not as serious as the prosecutors thought when they originally filed the case. This is a discretionary call on the part of the judge. Usually, bail is going to be set at the bail schedule and unless there are changed circumstances, bail will not be changed. But, a preliminary hearing is a good opportunity for the defense to attack the prosecution’s case – get some of the charges dismissed and also show the judge and the prosecutor that their case is not as serious or as strong as they thought when they originally filed the case. At the end of the preliminary hearing, the defense attorney can say to the judge, Your Honor, I’m requesting that the bail be reduced based on the following factors, and then lay out the evidence that came out at the preliminary hearing that shows that the charges against the defendant either should be dismissed or those charges are not as serious as the prosecutors thought at the beginning of the case.
If the judge lowers the bail, that gives the criminal defendant an opportunity to post the bail and get out while the case is pending because, after the preliminary hearing, there’s still more case left. The person’s going to trial. They’re going to be sent into the trial court. On the day of the trial court which is usually about ten days from the preliminary hearing, they have sixty days to get the person to trial unless they waive time, so there can be months even after the preliminary hearing where a person can remain out of custody if the bail can be lowered after the preliminary hearing in a criminal case in Los Angeles.
This is a crucial thing. A lot of times what I’ll do if the bail being lowered is important in the case, I can prepare some sort of a Memorandum on behalf of my client anticipating certain charges being dismissed – anticipating certain evidence coming out that shows the case is not as serious as the prosecutors thought, and then if I can give that motion to the judge, at the end of the preliminary hearing I can make the argument to get the bail reduced to a lesser bail so the client can get out and fight the case on the outside.
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