In San Diego County, when you are arrested, you may have the option of posting bail in order to get out of jail while you wait to attend trial. Since most people only know about the process from what they have seen on television and movies, Vista criminal lawyer Peter M. Liss is here to explain how he bail system works and why you may or may not choose to take advantage of the opportunity.
The purpose of bail is to help ensure you will return to court. When you are arrested and booked for a crime, you can generally post bail based on the San Diego County bail schedule as soon as you are put behind bars. The bail schedule determines how much your bail will be based on the crime you have been charged with.
While you should always speak to a Vista criminal attorney as soon as you have been charged with a crime, you may want to contact a relative or friend to help you secure bail. In many cases, that person will have to go through a bail bondsman who will post bail for you in exchange for a premium, which will legally be no higher than 10% of your total bail. For example, if your bail is $10,000, your bail bond may cost you a total of $1,000. If you post cash bail, the jail will usually require a bank check or money order posted during business hours, although for smaller amounts, they sometimes take personal checks. There is also a more complicated process where you can use real estate to secure bail. You need twice the amount of the bail in equity and have to obtain the court’s approval. No matter what method you use to secure bail, after it is posted, you should be released within the next few hours.
If you are not bailed out immediately, you will be arraigned within three business days of your arrest. During the arraignment, the judge may allow you to be released from jail, or may increase or reduce your bail, as you await your trial based on whether or not he or she believes you to be a flight risk or a threat to public safety. Having a Vista criminal attorney at your arraignment is not only critical to ensuring the charges against you are as minimal as possible, but also to help you get released on your own recognizance or on reduced bail.
Once you’ve posted bail, you must appear in court on the scheduled date or your bail will be forfeited to the court and a bench warrant for your arrest may be issued. If you used a bail bond, the company will seek full reimbursement from you or your cosigner. If you had a reasonable excuse for missing the court date and are able to appear within 180 days of the scheduled date, a Vista defense lawyer may be able to have the forfeiture vacated, which means the bail forfeiture will be reversed so you, or the bail bond company will still be eligible to retrieve the bail if you show up for your rescheduled court date.
After the trial is completed, the bail will be returned to the bond company if you used one. If you paid a cash bail, you will receive the full bail back if you are not convicted, but if you are, the money may be applied towards any restitution or fines you have been ordered to pay.
If you still have any questions about bail or aren’t sure if it is worth acquiring a bail bond in your circumstances, please call Vista defense lawyer Peter M. Liss at (760) 643-4050.
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