Many defendants in California jails awaiting trial can secure their release by paying bail. It refers to the money they deposit with the court to be released from prison. The purpose of bail is to ensure the defendant continues to appear in court for trials and doesn’t flee. If they don’t make court appearances, they forfeit the money, and the court may issue an arrest warrant.
If you or a family member were arrested and are in custody for a criminal offense, an experienced criminal justice attorney in Orange County could fight for your rights. In many cases, the attorney may be able to get you out of jail by requesting the court to grant you bail, depending on the severity of the crime.
How is Bail Set in California After an Arrest?
Not all offenses require bail. In setting bail for defendants, the courts use a bail schedule. In California, a panel of judges reviews the bail schedule annually. The schedule contains an extensive list of crimes committed within the county’s jurisdiction. Judges follow standard practices in setting bail amounts guided by the type of charge in question.
You can post a cash bail directly with the court on your own or obtain a bail bond from a licensed Bail Agent. A bail bond attorney in Orange County can hasten your bail process and have you released within a few hours of your arrest.
What Factors Do the Courts Consider When Setting Bail Amounts?
When a California judge sets a bail figure for a defendant charged with a crime, they consider the following factors:
- The specific details of the charge
- The defendant’s past criminal convictions
- The risk to public safety
- The likelihood that the defendant will flee and not appear at trial
When facing a criminal charge in Laguna Hills, your future and freedom are at risk. Fortunately, you have the right to an attorney and should exercise that right appropriately. An experienced attorney may help you secure your freedom as you await trial.
Why is Bail So Important for Defendants?
When you’re bailed out awaiting trial for your criminal case, you can have your freedom for the months and sometimes years before your case goes to trial. That means you can maintain your daily routine, continue living with your family, interact with the community, and go to work or school.
As you await trial out of jail, you have a better chance to make better decisions. You can take your time to make those decisions, especially concerning your legal options and the plea bargain that may be available to you.
However, remember that even if the court finds you not guilty or drops or dismisses the charges, it can take as long as three months to recover your bail from the court. If you’re found guilty, your bail in the form of cash may go towards the payment of fines and court fees.
How Much is Bail in California?
In California, the bail amount depends on the charge. The bail amount can be as much as a million dollars or more for the most severe crimes. $20,000 and $50,000 are the more typical bail amounts for less severe offenses.
When charged with a violent or more severe felony, a judge will typically not drop your bail amount below a standard “scheduled figure.” In such a case, the judge has to be presented with “unusual circumstances” or “good cause” to reduce the bail amount. A bail bond attorney in Orange County can help you.
If you cannot afford bail or believe the bail amount is unfair or excessive, an experienced Orange County criminal justice attorney can request a bail hearing on your behalf. At the hearing, you can ask the court to reduce the bail amount or drop it entirely and release you on your own recognizance (O.R.).
What is an O.R. Release?
If you request to be released on O.R., it means being released on your own recognizance. This type of release requires no cash and is simply a promise to the court that you’ll appear at trial. Many California judges are increasingly releasing criminal defendants on O.R, given the growing criticism of the cash bond system.
In 2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation abolishing the cash bail system. The new law would also give judges more discretion to determine the defendants to remain behind bars while awaiting trial.
Can a California Judge Increase My Bail Amount?
In the same way that a California judge can reduce a defendant’s bail amount, so can they increase it. That can only happen if the judge believes that such action is justified. The state may present new information or evidence to the court if a defendant requests bail reduction. The judge may determine that the new evidence or information warrants a higher bail amount.
Can Agreeing to Conditions Reduce My Bail?
An experienced Orange County bail bond lawyer may propose specific bail conditions to the court. If you agree to specific bail conditions, an otherwise resolute judge may agree to reduce a bail amount or sign off an O.R. release. However, a judge mustn’t impose any bail condition that violates your legal or constitutional rights.
Examples of bail conditions your attorney may recommend may include but aren’t limited to requiring that you:
- Surrender your passport
- Surrender your driver’s license
- Enter a treatment facility
- Don’t drink and drive with any degree of alcohol in your system
- Restrict your travel
- Wear a GPS tracking device
- Wear a SCRAM monitoring device
Try not to be your own attorney when faced with a criminal case. An experienced Laguna Hills criminal defense lawyer can give sound and reliable advice concerning bail options, defense strategies, and other issues surrounding your case.
Legal Guidance from an Aggressive Legal Representative
If you’ve been charged with a crime, you’ll need the personalized legal advice of an Orange County criminal defense attorney during the bail bond hearing. Remember that you have a right to a lawyer and should exercise that right.
We can give you sound legal advice about the bail options and what the court requires of you once you’re released on bail. Book a FREE case evaluation to speak to a qualified defense attorney.