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Bail: Details on How It Works

Posted by Dmitry Gorin | Jan 12, 2009 | 0 Comments

When a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney prepares for a trial, he or she must consider how bail will play out for their client.

Traditionally in Los Angeles, bail is some form of property deposited or pledged to a court in order to persuade it to release a suspect from jail, on the understanding that the suspect will return for trial or forfeit the bail (and be guilty of the crime of failure to appear). In most cases bail money will be returned at the end of the trial, if all court appearances are made, no matter whether the person is found guilty or not guilty of the crime accused.

In Los Angeles, criminal defense attorneys will attempt to get the lowest bail possible for their clients, or have no bail at all. Los Angeles courts will try to set a bail that will assure the accused wither will spend time in prison or will be sure not to flee the area before trial. In cases that involve extreme violence or extremely wealthy individuals, bail may be extraordinarily high. For example, a lawyer for a Swedish hip-hop artist accused of murdering a pedestrian in a sensational act of road rage invoked the movie "Crash" on Friday in asking for a reduction in the performer's $1-million bail. The fatal encounter happened in a Hollywood crosswalk.

This particular case is an example of both a high-profile defendant and a particularly violent episode (which usually means a high bail amount). Police say Jassy, 34, punched, kicked and then ran over John Osnes, a 55-year-old jazz pianist, during the Nov. 24 incident. Witnesses told police that Osnes, who did not own a car and was a stickler for pedestrian rights, had struck with his hands the front of Jassy's SUV after it edged into the crosswalk. In the filing, the criminal defense lawyer wrote that further investigation and forensic tests were required to determine the facts, but his summary of the alleged crime suggested Jassy may contend that Osnes played a more aggressive role than authorities have said. The lawyer labeled the incident a "fight" and said Osnes was "angry that his way was partially blocked" and had "pounded his fists" on Jassy's vehicle.

At Arraignment, a client may be released O.R., which means on his or her recognizance without having to post bail. In the event a bail amount is set by the court, we counsel our clients and his or her family on how to post bail, to get the loved one released from custody as quickly as possible. Bail is financial assurance that a Defendant will return to court after being released from custody.

Tagged as: bail and release

About the Author

Dmitry Gorin

Dmitry Gorin is a licensed attorney, who has been involved in criminal trial work and pretrial litigation since 1994. Before becoming partner in Eisner Gorin LLP, Mr. Gorin was a Senior Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles Courts for more than ten years. As a criminal tri...


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