What does this mean? This means if you're charged with a sex crime are you going to be able to bail out or get released on your own recognizance where you don't have to post any bail? Or, is the judge just simply going to hold you? It's a very rare situation where the judge is allowed to just hold somebody and not let them out with any bail in any crime, even sex crimes. The only exception that I would point out would be (1) if it involves a kidnapping of a child and you're seen as a serious danger to the community or (2) I've seen them jack the bail up over a million dollars if you have multiple sex crimes that you're going to be charged with like a serial rapist, for example. That could jack the bail up very high. But beyond those scenarios, typically you're going to end up with some sort of a bail in the case.
Multiple Counts of Sex Crimes
Now the one thing that the prosecutors are allowed to do in Los Angeles county — it happens all the time — is if you're charged with multiple counts of sex crimes, they can stack the bond. Meaning, if one count is $50,000, they get that, and then the next count is $20,000, they get that, and they can just keep stacking it up to try to make it high so you can't get out. Most crimes, the judges are not going to permit that in Los Angeles county, but sex crimes are an exception to that rule.
You're certainly entitled to a bond. You're certain entitled to a reasonable bond. But when it comes to sex crimes, the judges are not as reasonable in my experience, especially in today's climate. They're very careful of what they do and they're going to err on the side of setting a high bond if they give you a bond in your sex-related crime in Los Angeles county.
One thing that people do not realize and do not understand — and it's important to understand in a sex crime — and that is, for purposes of bail the judges are to assume that whatever charges there are against you are true. In other words, you don't get the benefit of beyond a reasonable doubt for bail purposes. They certainly have to prove the crime against you.
Entitled to Bond
The presumption of innocence is there as the case goes and you're going to get all of your rights if you take your case to a jury trial, but when it comes to setting bail the rule in Los Angeles county is, that yes you are entitled to a bond, yes most of the crimes have a recommended bail attached to them or a presumptive bail attached to them. The judges got together and set the bond for each crime — each sex crime in Los Angeles county.
But, when it comes to sex crimes, the judges are very harsh and they will typically do what the prosecutors say unless your defense attorney can mount a very strong argument. Really the two things the judge is going to be looking at are: first, are you a flight risk?
They'll take your passport. They'll put an ankle monitor on you. They'll do whatever is necessary to make sure that you don't run away, and that includes putting your bail up so high that you can't get out. The second question and probably most important when it comes to sex crime bonds in California, are you a danger to the community? Are you a danger to the victim in the particular case? If so, expect your bail to be jacked up to an astronomical height so that you can't get out and commit any more crimes while you're on bail.
Depends on Circumstances – Prior Record – Flight Risk
So, the answer to the question as to whether or not sex crimes in Los Angeles are bondable is most clearly, yes. But the bond's probably going to be high depending on the circumstances, depending on your prior criminal record, depending on whether you have any prior failures to appear, and most importantly, depending on whether you are a flight risk and/or a danger to the community. That is going to dictate what your bond is in a sex crime case in Los Angeles.
So, a lot of times what I'm doing to prepare to argue bail for a client in one of the LA courts related to a sex crime is, I meet with the family first and get as much detail as I can about the client if they're in custody. Then, when I go to court, I'll pick up the paperwork. I'll review it so I can see what the person's criminal record looks like, what the exact charges are in the case, and then finally and probably most importantly, I'm going to sit down with the client, find out their side of story, find out what they have to say related to the charges and the fact that they're obviously going to want to bail out, get all the good things about them — their history, their job situation, their family circumstances, so we can really make a strong argument at the arraignment.
But they are entitled to a bond or even an OR release to get them out, because having a client out trying to help with the case while it's pending is always the best case scenario when it comes to a sex crime in Los Angeles county. Contact our Los Angeles sex crime lawyers to review your case.