Arrest, Booking and Bail
If you are looking to post bail in San Diego, you need a reputable bail lawyer to help with the process and issues related to your case. Domenic J. Lombardo, an experienced San Diego bail attorney, has successfully attacked bail problems at every stage of the criminal defense process, including, for example, securing release on bail in cases involving murder, rape and drug crimes. For help with bail in San Diego, call our office or send a message to Mr. Lombardo at any time, every day of the year to receive free and confidential legal advice on your particular case.
Bail generally refers to the dollar amount fixed for an arrest or bench warrant or for a defendant booked into the San Diego County jail system. An individual arrested in San Diego can post bail in order to obtain release from jail or to recall a warrant. Posting bail generally refers to the process of paying out bail money or using property as collateral. The bail money and/or property help to ensure that a defendant will make his or her court appearances. Failure to appear in court can result in the forfeiture of bail money and/or property and the filing of criminal charges for willful failure to appear.
Right to Bail
A person in San Diego has the right to bail except in cases alleging a capital offense and in cases where the prosecution can establish by “clear and convincing evidence” that there is a substantial risk of likelihood that release will result in harm to others. There is no right to bail in cases involving a violation of felony probation. Some individuals have a right to bail, but have a “hold” placed upon them, usually by a California Department of Corrections Parole Agent (“parole hold”), or by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“immigration hold”). Posting bail in cases involving a “hold” may be a waste of money.
In any case, you should contact a San Diego bail attorney for specific legal advice on whether and when to post bail.
Changing the Bail Amount
The amount of bail is obviously important, because if bail is set too high a person will have to fight his or her case from jail. Our goal is to lower the bail amount or to secure release without posting bail.
There are several opportunities throughout the criminal defense process to change the bail amount or even to obtain release without bail. For example, we may contact a duty judge available 24 hours a day to handle requests to adjust bail amount in extraordinary situations involving a recent arrest where the accused has never appeared in court. We can also request a reduction in bail at the first court appearance, and every defendant is entitled to a bail review hearing at a second court appearance, usually within 3 court days. Finally, we can adjust the bail at any other court hearing where we can establish a “change in circumstances.” In short, at each stage of the criminal court process, a person has a right to a court hearing on issues relating to the amount of bail, and we may present family members, character letters and other evidence and witnesses at these hearings.
Three Ways to Post Bail
Posting bail can be accomplished in three ways: through a bail bond with the help of a bail bondsman (most popular), cash bail, or a property bond.
Most people elect to post bail through a bail bondsman. Bail agents can quickly get people released who don’t have the money to post the full amount of the bail and who don’t want to wait for a court hearing to have their bail adjusted. The bail agent will require a non-refundable “premium” of up to 10% of the bail amount, and the agent may insist on collateral for the balance of the amount of bail, either in the form or a promissory note, refundable credit card payment, pink slip, or a deed to property. Establishing a good relationship with a bail agent is critical for defendants and their families posting bail though a bail bondsman. The bail agent is essentially taking responsibility for making sure the person makes it to court. Since the bail bondsman is constructive custody of the person on bail, the agent may arrest and surrender the defendant back to custody if the bail agreement is violated. At the end of the case, the bond is exonerated and any collateral on the bond will be released by the agent. We can refer you to a reputable San Diego bail agent to post bail immediately.
Posting cash bail, an alternative to posting bail though a bail bondsman, can be quickly accomplished by providing a cashier’s check to the San Diego County Sheriff jail facility in the full amount of the bail. The entire amount of the bail is generally refundable. Persons posting bail, especially cash bail, must be prepared to prove that all of the cash used to post the bail was not derived from a felonious source. In some cases, cash bail may also be subject to forfeiture. Contact a reputable San Diego bail attorney if you have questions or to learn more.
A property bond is the least popular way to post bail because it takes the longest amount of time and involves the most complicated procedure. Property bonds can be an effective form of release in serious cases where the bail amount is especially high and resources can better be put to work on a person’s defense. San Diego property bonds generally require the property to be located in San Diego. The property bond essentially deeds real property to the Clerk of the Court for the duration of the case. The property must have equity in the amount of twice the bail. The problem with property bonds is that they can take up to a week to prepare and they require that a package of information be put together for the approval of the prosecutor and judge involved. For example, a preliminary title report, deed of trust, promissory notes, declarations from the property owners, and a new insurance policy can all be required before the property is accepted as bail.
When to Post Bail
Unless you have unlimited resources, whether and when to post bail is a very important decision. Most defendants are concerned about money and all people are concerned with avoiding even one extra day in jail. So what if you were to be advised that a court may reasonably lower your bail from $100,000.00 to $10,000.00 at the first court hearing? Would you spend the money now or wait in jail a couple of days for the chance to save quite a bit of money? Once you post bail with a bail bondsman, for example, your non-refundable bail premium is gone. It’s a tough decision to make, so do not hesitate to contact us for guidance on whether and when you should post bail.
Release on Own Recognizance
A person spending time in jail should be informed that the bail amount is subject to adjustment at the first court appearance, at a bail review hearing, and at any time the defense can establish a “change in circumstances.” In fact, at some point in the court process, a person may be released without the need to post any bail.
A court may release an individual on his or her promise to make all court appearances. This is called a “release on own recognizance.” The court may order special conditions for this type of release, depending on the nature of the case, such as attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings, staying away from a particular person, agreeing to searches by law enforcement, etc. The court could allow for satellite monitoring (G.P.S.) or “house arrest.” There are many alternative ways to secure a release without having to post bail. We are experts at identifying and presenting these alternatives to the court. Don’t hesitate to call our office for legal advice.
More About Bail in California
For more information about bail in San Diego and elsewhere in California, the following related resources are available:
Get Help from an Experienced San Diego Bail Attorney
Do you have questions about posting bail? For immediate legal advice, contact Domenic J. Lombardo, an experienced San Diego bail attorney. Mr. Lombardo provides a free and confidential consultation in cases involving the posting of bail in San Diego, Chula Vista, Coronado, La Jolla, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, Lemon Grove, National City, Imperial Beach, San Ysidro, El Cajon, Kearney Mesa, La Mesa, Poway, Santee, Escondido, San Marcos, Encinitas, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Carlsbad, Oceanside, Vista, Fallbrook, Spring Valley and throughout San Diego County.