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Articles Posted in Bail

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Bail_Bonds_bondsman-300x200Six out of ten. That is the number of people who are arrested and held on suspicion of committing a crime in California who never face criminal charges. This is because those wrongly accused of crimes can spend months and even years in custody while their case works it way through the criminal justice system. Despite ultimately being exonerated, there is still a significant cost paid by many of these people.

In an attempt to eliminate this inequity in our justice system, California lawmakers have introduced legislation that would drastically change the bail system in the state.

Does Bail Punish Poor People?

The bail system allows defendants to pay a certain amount of money to the court as a guarantee that they will show up their court hearings. In most cases, a person charged with a crime will seek the help of a bail bond company that will post the full amount of bail in exchange for a non-refundable fee (generally equal to 10% of the bail amount set by the court).

This means if bail is set at $50,000, the defendant can pay a bail bondsman $5,000 to be released from custody while the case is pending. If the charges are dropped or if the defendant is found not guilty at trial, the bondsman receives the $50,000 back from the court, but keeps the $5,000 the defendant paid him or her.

The current bail system punishes people who are not able to afford bail. That is why California lawmakers want to change how the courts calculate bail fees.

Income-Based Bail Amounts

Currently, the average bail in California is $50,000, and bail fees are based on the crime allegedly committed rather than the defendant’s ability to pay. A new bill working its way through the California legislature would eliminate bail in some cases and change the way it is calculated in others.

Under this proposed law, in cases where the person’s crime is one that is not serious or violent, home detention or monitoring devices could be used in place of monetary bail. In cases involving serious or violent crimes where bail fees would be required, the courts would be directed to use the defendant’s income as the basis for the amount of bail required.

Will the Bill Become Law?

The bill is not without its critics. The bail industry, victims rights groups and law enforcement agencies oppose the bill, saying that the proposed change will lead to more people failing to show up to court, and that it will cost counties more money to supervise individuals who are given a bail alternative. Continue reading →

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Judge-Fs-HimselfThe expectation most people have is that a person who is arrested for a crime will be removed from the community and put in jail.

However, if you think about it, bail is exactly in line with one of the most fundamental principals of our criminal justice system: each person is innocent until they are proven guilty. This is why even after you are arrested for a crime, in many cases, you may have the legal right to be released from jail by posting bail.

The problem is that because of a quirk between the timing of bail and the potential time period in which a person might be charged with a crime, there was a possibility that some people would have to post bail more than once. However, on Jan. 1, 2017, a new law in California changed bail laws to reduce the chances that a person will have to post bail twice.

The Basics of Bail

Bail is meant to be a promise that you will show up in court for hearings and trial dates in exchange for your release. Typically, the law allows you to be set free from custody if you deposit a certain amount of money with the court. This does not mean you have to post the full amount out of your own bank account. You can work with a bail bondsman, who will post the full amount of bail in exchange for a non-refundable premium, which is generally 10 percent of the total bail amount.

There are two possible outcomes once bail is paid by a bail bondsman. If you fail to show up to court as required, the court can declare the bail to be forfeited, meaning the bail bond company (which works for an insurance company) will likely have to pay the county the entire bail amount. The threat of bail forfeiture means that the bail bond agent will want to ensure that you appear in court at all scheduled hearings.

The other outcome is that bail will be “exonerated” or returned to the bail bond agent. This happens when the case is terminated and you have mad all of your required court hearings. The bail may also be exonerated if the prosecution declines to formally charge you with a crime within a certain amount of time.

Why Would People Have to Pay For Bail Twice? (PC 1305)

Previously, California Penal Code Section 1305 required that if a defendant was not formally charged with a crime within 15 days of the arraignment, the bail would be exonerated. However, the prosecutor is not required to immediately charge you with a crime. In fact, many criminal cases are not filed by the prosecution for many months. You might not be charged yet because the prosecution is waiting for lab results to be returned in a drug case, or because the investigation needs to determine whether there is enough evidence to formally charge you with a crime. Continue reading →

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Never Pay BailTypically when a person is arrested and sent to jail for a crime in California, their reaction is to hire a bail bondsman to bail them out. The bail bondsman will usually charge a statutory fee of 10% of the bail amount. This means that if you or a loved one is incarcerated for a crime where the bail is set at $100,000, you will pay a fee to the bondsman of $10,000. This fee is non-refundable, meaning that you will never get any of that money back even if the case is dismissed.

So, what is one way to avoid paying large sums of money when you or a loved one is in jail and facing a hefty bail amount? You need to call an experienced criminal defense attorney to assist you. Doing so before hiring a bondsman can benefit you in the following three major ways:

1. Lowering the Bail Amount

In some cases, if you are arrested, a skilled criminal defense attorney can contact the “judge on duty” and request that you or a loved one be released. If the request is granted, you will be released from custody without having to post bail, or you may be released on a lower bail amount. If this occurs, you will save thousands of dollars in bail bond fees.

2. Attorney-Referred Bail Services

If you hire Wallin & Klarich before contacting a bail bondsman, you are entitled to a 2% reduction in the bail bond fee, this is called attorney referred bail services. In a case where the bail is $100,000, you will save $2,000 by hiring our law firm before contacting a bail bondsman.

Continue reading →

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If you are arrested, the first thing you will probably think about is how quickly you can be released from jail. This is a logical first thought when faced with the frightening prospect of spending time in jail. However, what you do after your arrest is extremely important and a decision should not be made without thought.

Do I Call a Bail Bondsman First?

Many people panic when arrested and immediately hire the first bail bondsman they find so they can be released from custody. This is not the best option in the majority of cases. Here are some of the reasons you should first consult with a criminal defense attorney before bailing out of jail.

Lower Bail Bond Fees if You Retain a Lawyer

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If you use a bail bondsman, you will most likely pay a 10% fee based upon the bail amount. This means on a $100,000 bail, you would have to pay the bondsman $10,000. However, if you retain a criminal defense lawyer before contacting a bondsman you would have to pay only 8%. If your bail is set at $100,000, you would save $2,000 in bail bonds fees by retaining a criminal defense attorney.

It is important to know this before you hire a bail bondsman because you will not get your money back once you have paid the bondsman their fee.

It is Better to Wait until Your First Court Date before Posting Bail

Based on the facts of the case, bail can sometimes be raised at your first court date. If this happens after you have already posted bail, you would have paid a large amount of money for only a few days of freedom.

In many cases, our experienced attorneys at Wallin & Klarich recommend that our clients do not post bail until after the first court date. There are some very good things that can happen when our clients follow our advice:

  • We may be able to talk to the prosecuting attorney and convince them not to file criminal charges at this time. If that happens, you will be released within two court days of your arrest and you will have paid no bail bond fees.
  • At the first court hearing (called the arraignment), we can convince the judge to lower the bail or release your loved one on “his own recognizance,” which means he is released without having to pay any bail fees.
  • In some counties – such as Orange County – your criminal defense attorney can visit you in custody and learn about your background and the facts of the case. A Wallin & Klarich attorney can then contact the “detention release officer” on duty and ask that the bail be lowered or that you be released without bail. This happens prior to the first court date, possibly as early as within a few hours after the arrest.

Continue reading →

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The California Legislature recently changed California Penal Code section 1203.018, which may allow you to be released from custody while awaiting trial on an electronic monitoring program. This option is available even if you are not able to post bail. Previously you were only able to participate in the electronic monitoring program if you had been in custody for 30 days on misdemeanor charges or if you had been in custody for 60 days for any charge. The electronic monitoring option is now available to you while you await trial if the correctional administrator finds that your participation in the electronic monitoring program would not pose a threat to the public safety of the community and the court approves of your release from custody.

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The electronic monitoring program can be implemented in several ways including through home detention monitoring or GPS tracking of your whereabouts. Home detention monitoring usually requires that you wear an ankle bracelet that keeps track of your movement and location.

If you or a loved one is facing jail time because you are not able to post the required bail amount it is important that you contact a competent and knowledgeable San Bernardino criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience successfully defending clients in criminal matters and can assist you to get electronic monitoring in lieu of jail time while your trial is pending. We have offices in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura and Orange County. Call us today at 1-888-230-6839 or visit us online at www.wklaw.com for more information. We will be there when you call.

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People should learn from their mistakes. Unfortunately, four former Louisiana State University football players have failed to do so. Now one former player is facing jail time while another will no longer play football at LSU again.

Former LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson and Tyrann Mathieu were arrested on October 25, 2012 after police allegedly found marijuana, a marijuana grinder, a digital scale, and 10 bags of high-grade marijuana inside Mathieu’s apartment. Jefferson and Mathieu were arrested along with former LSU players Derrick Bryant and Karnell Hatcher.

Jefferson was free for over a year on a $5,000 bond facing a 2011 battery case. Judge Moore, who has been assigned to this case, revoked Jefferson’s bond stating “I have a problem with someone who’s out on bond being re-arrested. … I have a real problem with what’s going on.” As a result of the revoked bond, Jefferson had to report to jail.

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We all know that you could face criminal punishment for violating a law. But what punishment do you face if you post bail, then commit another serious crime while out on bail? In California, this could lead to even more severe punishment.

A defendant who is released on bail or on his or her own recognizance will face serious additional punishment if it is proven that he committed a new offense while the first case is still pending.

What Happens if You Commit a Felony While on Bail?

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California Penal Code Section 12022.1 provides that a defendant who commits a crime while released pending another criminal matter “shall be subject to a penalty enhancement of an additional two years in state prison which shall be served consecutive to any other term imposed by the court.” Furthermore, this section states that the enhancement can be added to the second offense or the first offense.

In simpler terms, this means that if you commit a felony while you are out on bail and your criminal case is still pending, an additional two years of prison or jail time could be added to your sentence for the original offense. However, if the second offense you committed carries a harsher punishment, the judge could choose to make you serve a sentence for that crime, plus the additional two-year enhancement.

This is why it is extremely important that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney before you post bail so that your attorney can help you navigate the bail process and explain what happens after you post bail.

Continue reading →

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post bail CaliforniaIf you are arrested for a crime, you will have the opportunity to post bail and be released from custody. However, you should never post bail without first speaking to an experienced criminal defense attorney. If you speak with a criminal defense attorney before posting bail not only will you have the services of a skilled lawyer to fight for you, you will also be able to save thousands of dollars on bail. To learn more about how you could save thousands of dollars on bail, click here.

When you post bail, you will be released from custody. But what happens if you are released on bail and you are arrested for another crime? Does it have any potential implications on your original crime?

Arrested While Out on Bail

If you are arrested again while out on bail, you should be worried. Being arrested while out on bail can have major implications on your pending case as well as the new case you have been arrested for. First, being arrested while you have one case pending will throw a wrench in any settlement negotiations or progress toward a settlement your lawyer has made with the prosecutor. The prosecutor will likely take any plea deal that had previously been made off the table and start negotiations all over or potentially end plea bargain negotiations completely to pursue charges.

Second, if you are on bail for a felony matter and have been arrested for a new felony, you are in deep water. This scenario is commonly referred to as “Crime Bail Crime.” If you are on felony bail, and are arrested for a new felony, the prosecutor can charge you with an enhancement for a crime bail crime, which could add an additional two years to any sentence you could receive on the new arrest.

Continue reading →

About Wallin & Klarich

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Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.