Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

Los Angeles Bail and the Criminal Defense System

Posted on: August 20, 2009 at 5:29 a.m.

When a Los Angeleles criminal defense attorney sitsdown with someone for their first meeting, very often that person is behind bars or about to be booked. One question, or set of questions, that arises time after time has to do with Los Angeles bail. People might understand, from television, that if you are arrested, there is a way to get out of jail. Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys often have to educate their clients on such things as bail and how it works, because the average person gets their legal education from "Law & Order" which usually does not tell the whole story.

A huge advantage to getting out of jail is the ability to more effectively assist your Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, ensuring a more effective criminal defense. Also, if you are a non-citizen, being in jail could jeopardize your immigration status, so getting out of jail ASAP is a priority.

There are two ways to be released from jail: the bail option and something called "own recognizance." Bail works just like an insurance policy, to pay the amount set in bail means that the defendant guarantees that he or she will appear in court on the specified date after being released. The bail can either be paid "out of pocket" or through a bail bond. After successfully appearing at the court, the bail is returned to you by check, which often can take between eight and ten weeks to arrive. However, if you do not have the full amount of the bail, you can seek out a bail bond. Companies that issue such bail bonds usually charge about ten percent of the posted bail. So, if your bail is set at $50,000, then the company will charge you $5,000 to issue the bond.

Determining Bail

There are four major factors used in determining what amount bail is set at:

  1. The seriousness of the alleged crime. A more serious offense will call for higher bail amounts. Violent crimes, gang activity, grand larceny and other major felonies will have a higher bail amount that a misdemeanor.

  2. The suspect's criminal record is reviewed. If a suspect has a minor criminal record, or no criminal record whatsoever, then the bail amount will probably be lower.

  3. Will the suspect pose a risk to the community if released. Bail will be set very high, or the defendant could be denied bail in Los Angeles, if he or she is thought to pose a risk to others. Violent crime, domestic abuse, sex crimes and related criminal offenses in Los Angeles could cause bail to be set at a rate that the defendant cannot likely afford.

  4. Suspect's ties to family, community and employment are assessed. If the suspect is the main bread winner in his or her family, if they have strong community ties or other such factors, then bail will likely be lowered.

A Los Angeles judge will analyze all of these factors to determine at what amount to set the bail. This is also an early stage of negotiation and argument for the prosecution and defense. Having a skilled Los Angeles criminal defense attorney arguing on your behalf will help you get a more favorable bail amount. A skilled Los Angeles criminal defense attorney will present key facts, evidence and relationships to the judge. Also, many criminal defense attorneys have relationships with bail bondsmen and bail bond companies, and could assist you in getting your bail bond fee lowered from 10% to potentially 8%. This may not seem like much, but if you have committed a major felony and bail is set at $100,000, a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney could save you $2,000 on your bail bond.

If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime in Los Angeles, contact the Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner& Gorin today at 877-781-1570.

Tagged as: bail and release

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