According to Penal Code section 1275, When "setting,
reducing or denying bail," a judge must consider public
safety the primary factor, but also must consider the
Seriousness of the Offense Charged
Previous Criminal Record of Defendant
Probability of Defendant Appearing in Court
Injuries to the Victim
Threats of Violence Made by Defendant
Use of Firearms or Other Deadly Weapons
In Los Angeles County, bail is set by the arresting law enforcement agency according to the LA. County Uniform Bail Schedule.
In California, an arresting officer must take the defendant
before a judge within 48 hours of arrest, excluding
Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays. So if you are arrested on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday do not count towards the 48 hours, and the day for you to be brought to court would be Tuesday. (Penal Code sections, 825, 828)
It is a misdemeanor crime for an officer to willfully delay taking a defendant before a Judge within 48 hours of
arrest. (Penal Code section 145)
Generally, there are only two ways to get your bail
reduced. 1) Before Your First Court Appearance or 2) At
Your First Court Appearance.
BEFORE FIRST COURT APPEARANCE
If a defendant wishes to have a lower bail set before
going to court and he/she is still in custody, the defendant
must himself contact the L.A. County Bail Deviation
Program ( 213-351-5151 or 1800-773-5151 between
6a.m. and 12 midnight) to apply for a lower bail.
ON FIRST COURT APPEARANCE
Otherwise, a defendant may wait until he appears before a
judge and through his Attorney request that the Judge
reduce bail or possibly permit defendant to be released on
his word and promise to appear at the next court date
(which means you do not have to pay bail). This is known
as "own recognizance release" or O.R. Release.
Although difficult to obtain, this office has had success in
the past obtaining the release of many of our clients on O.
R. Release at their first court appearance, saving them the
expense of hiring a bail bondsman, which usually charge
10% of the bail amount for their services. So if your bail is
set at $ 20, 000, the cost of hiring a bail bondsman would
$ 2000. Many times, this leaves defendants without any
funds to hire an experienced and successful private
attorney to represent them in court. So unless it is an
extreme necessity, it may be best to wait until your first
court appearance, hire an experienced attorney to appear
with you on that date and allow your attorney the
opportunity to convince the judge to reduce your bail or
release you on O.R.
EXTREME NECESSITY-WHEN YOU SHOULD BAIL OUT
Obviously, deciding whether to immediately bail out or wait
until you go to court is a very personal decision. Every
case is different and your decision will depend on your
own personal circumstances. However, it is our
experience that the following circumstances merit and
almost require that you post Bail immediately:
If Defendant Is Not A U.S. Citizen
A person who is not a U.S. Citizen risks being detained by
INS for deportation proceedings as long as he remains in
custody, even if you have been a Permanent Resident all
your life. Generally, the INS will not detain someone who is
no longer in custody. The INS simply does not have the
manpower to actively locate people who have been
released from jail. However, they will locate and detain
individuals who are in jail.
If Defendant Has A Serious Medical Condition
If Defendant Has Not Been Interrogated By
Most serious cases, such as sexual assault or homicide,
involve an assigned investigating detective who will make
every effort to interrogate the defendant to obtain a confession BEFORE he goes to court. A confession is the most powerful weapon a Prosecutor can use against a defendant. Most defendants will give confessions out of fear, ignorance or just because they think if they cooperate and say what the police want to hear, then they will get released.
Whatever the reason, a defendant in custody runs the greatest risk of interrogation. This is because usually the interrogation will take place within 24 hours of arrest. Sometimes it can take longer for an investigator to be assigned and then interrogate the defendant.
So if you are able to bail out before the investigator has an opportunity to question you, many times you will have protected yourself from incriminating yourself and putting the nail in the coffin. Once you are released, immediately hire an attorney so the attorney can contact the investigating detective and stop them from questioning you about the case.
However, if you do not have the ability to pay the bail,
immediately hire an experienced attorney who will then
contact the investigating detective assigned to your case
BEFORE he interrogates you. Once your attorney notifies
the detective that you are being represented by an
attorney and that we are invoking your Constitutional Right
to remain silent and not answer any questions, and
demand that you not be interrogated without our presence,
the likelihood is that the detectives will not question you