If you are arrested, you will be taken to jail and booked according to the San Diego County bail schedule, which sets a bail value according to the specific crimes you have been accused of committing. Usually the jail will add up the bail for each crime you were arrested for and require you to post bail in the total amount.
If you do not post bail, the District Attorney has up to three court days excluding weekends and holidays to bring you to court and file charges. They must release you if no charges have been filed.
To post bail, you can get a loan from a bondsman who will charge you 10% of the total as an insurance premium. If you do not appear in court, as the bondsman has guaranteed, they will pay the bond to the court. Many bail agencies will reduce your fee to 8% of the total bail if you are represented by a qualified San Diego criminal lawyer.
You may also post bail by paying with money you already have on hand. San Diego County jails do not take cash, so for you will need to obtain a cashier’s check in order to pay bail this way.
A third alternative is posting real estate worth twice the value of the bail with the court. This is a complicated process that typically requires the assistance of counsel and cannot be done until your arraignment.
Once the case goes to court, the judge has the independent right to set bail. If you have already posted bail, the judge has the right to increase your bail, especially if the charges filed against you are more serious than the ones you were originally arrested for.
If you are still in jail at the time of your arraignment, the judge can release you on your own recognizance, meaning you promise to appear at trial without the posting any bail. The judge can also raise your bail, keep it the same, or lower it to any amount. In many cases, your San Diego criminal attorney may be able to convince the judge to drastically reduce your bail or to allow you to be released on your own recognizance.
The only cases in which you will not be entitled to bail are death penalty cases or cases in which the judge determines you a danger to public safety.
Aside from the arguments of your San Diego criminal attorney and the prosecutor, the judge will also take into account the severity of the charges against you, your criminal history, whether or not you pose a threat to the community and if you are considered a flight risk. San Diego defense lawyer Peter M. Liss can help argue that you should be released on your own recognizance whenever possible, so you will not have to pay any bail. When bail does come into play, he will do whatever he can to help negotiate the lowest possible bail given the offenses you have been charged with.
If you have not yet been charged with a crime, but know you are under investigation, you should contact a San Diego defense attorney as soon as possible. Alternatively, if a bench warrant has been issued for your arrest and you have not yet been arrested, a Vista criminal defense lawyer can help you take care of the situation before you are arrested.
Please call our offices at (760) 643-4050 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a free initial consultation.
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