Getting arrested and booked are not things that most people experience in their lives, so going through the process can be shocking and scary. You may not find much compassion during this time as you are pushed through the legal machinery. Arrest and Booking are separate posts, but Bail deserves its own article. Hopefully you will find information to help put you at ease as you or your loved one is processed through the system. As a passionate defender of your rights, I am here to defend you through this process.
First, a quick arrest chronology leading up to Bail. It started with the Arrest, and hopefully you remembered your right to remain silent; and you should have called your attorney. Then the police Booked you into jail for holding as they sort out the charges. Your rights, as the police reminded you in their Miranda Warning, are to remain silent, and to be represented by an attorney. You should have kept mum and called your attorney by now. In California, the Police can hold you for up to 48 ours before charging you with a crime. You will appear before a judge, hear your charges, and declare guilty or not guilty. You should DEFINITELY have your attorney by your side for this portion, called the Arraignment.
When a judge thinks the defendant is a safety risk, the judge can deny bail, or set conditions on bail, such as limiting travel, interactions, treatment, and other conditions. Arrested individuals accused of particularly heinous crimes will be denied bail and help as a “pre-trial detainee” in the interest of public safety and justice.
Some alleged crimes, and many accused people, do not warrant jail time before trial. These clients will be released on their own recognizance. Also abbreviated ROR. People with strong ties to the community, who are not likely to skip out on trial get ROR. Other accused are held in jail until trial, and offered to post a bond to ensure their appearance. This process is known as bail.
If you are held in jail before your trial, “posting bail” is a way to ensure that you will appear in court when told to do so. The idea is that a cash deposit on your appearance will get you to show up in order to reclaim your deposit on yourself. Bail can be a few hundred dollars, or over a million if you can afford to “bail” on your bail and flee. Fortunately, the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires that bail not be excessive, so in a just court, your bail should be commensurate to your means. The judge is responsible for setting your bail, and your attorney can help explain to the court why your bail should be lowered, or why you should be released ROR.
If you have the funds available, you can pay the bail yourself, in cash or in a cash equivalent. A Bail Bond can also be posted via a commercial bail-bondsman that is a guarantee of full bail payment. A bail bond will require collateral to ensure their risk of posting your bail. Often, a home or other real property can be used as insurance for posting a bail bond. A real estate appraisal will be made quickly to see if the value covers your bond. Bail bonds cost a percentage of the bail they are posting. If you show up to court as required, the bail will be refunded to you (or the bail bondsman). If you fail to appear in court, the court keeps the money and can issue a warrant for your arrest.
Defendants who do not post bail will remain in jail until their trial as a “pre-trial detainee”. This is real jail with real convicted criminals, not a special “innocent until proven guilty” jail. Some defendants have no choice but to sit in jail until trial. Some prefer it to life on the streets. But in most cases, being home with your family is preferable to jail pre-trial.
If you have any questions about the arrest or bail process, or need a compassionate attorney at your side, please give Jaye Ryan law office a call. Our office is located just steps away from the Contra Costa Jail, and we are here to help.