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What Is Required To Get A Bail Lowered for Change of Circumstance?

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ. | Dec 05, 2018

A lot of clients and family members obviously want bails lowered after bail is determined.  They don't want to have to pay bail bondsmen, and a lot of times bails are so high that people simply can't bail out.  Once that bail is set by the judge — that's why it's so important to have an attorney right from the beginning so you can try to get the bail set as low as possible — but once it's set, the judge is not going to lower the bail unless the attorney can mount a powerful argument that there's been a change in circumstances.

Lowering Bail Due To Change of Circumstance

A lot of different issues can come up to cause a change in circumstances.  For example, I just did a preliminary hearing the other day.  There was four counts in the case and I was able to get two of the counts dismissed.  I made an argument that was a change in circumstance.  The client now only had half the charges against him, so therefore, the bail should be reduced.  The judge bought to argument, reduced the bail and my client was able to bail out.  That's one example of change of circumstance.

There are also bad examples of change of circumstance.  Sometimes they do a preliminary hearing and additional charges get added and then the bail goes up.  The client's exposure to jail becomes more serious, and therefore, the prosecutors can argue a change in circumstance and try to argue for a higher bail.

They don't usually do it, but they do do it in some cases where they feel that the particular defendant is a very dangerous person who needs to be in custody while the case is pending versus out of custody.

Bail Deviation By Prosecutor

There are other examples of change of circumstances.  I had another case where the judge put the bail up very high against my client because the prosecutor did a bail deviation, making an argument that they were investigating the client for a bunch of other crimes involving other victims and they felt that a filing was imminent.  That caused the bail to be jacked up significantly higher than it normally would.

At the end of the preliminary hearing I argued to the judge, we've done the preliminary hearing.  They have not filed charges against those other victims and it doesn't look like they're going to.  The judge then spun to the prosecutor and said, well, are you going to file against the other people?  She said, no I don't think we are.

That caused the bail to be reduced by more than half because they no longer had that dangerousness argument and therefore, there had been a change in circumstances.

You Need An Attorney To Make Argument For Lower Bail

So, you're starting to get the picture here.  If you want to have a bail reduced once it's been set, the attorney is going to have to show that something has changed in the case that makes it a good argument that the bail can be reduced.  Anytime somebody tries to lower a bail while a case is pending, the first thing the judge is going to say to the attorney is, okay Mr. Hedding.

Tell me what the change in circumstances are, because as you know, the law requires me to leave the bail that was originally set by the Magistrate unless you can show me there's been a change in circumstances.

Contact Our Law Firm For Help

So, that's how that works.  I'm always available — if you need to hire an attorney to get the bail lowered or try to fight your case, or maybe the case is new and you need an attorney to make sure that the bail is as low as possible.  Come in.  Sit down.  We'll strategize it and mount a powerful argument to get a low bail or no bail at all.

Related Resources:
Can my bail be lowered if some charges are dropped?
How Judges Set Bail

About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ.

Ronald D. Hedding, Esq., is the founding member of the Hedding Law Firm. Mr. Hedding has an extensive well-rounded legal background in the area of Criminal Law. He has worked for the District Attorney's Office, a Superior Court Judge, and as the guiding force behind the Hedding Law Firm. His multi-faceted experience sets Mr. Hedding apart and puts him in an elite group of the best Criminal Defense Attorneys in Southern California.