First – Should you post bail?
If your loved one has been arrested, the first decision to make is whether or not to post bail. When a person is booked into jail, the top charge will determine how much the bail should be. If they are booked through the Orange County Jail, a Detention Release Officer will review the case and can, in some situations, authorize a release on their own recognizance (an “OR” release). If they aren’t released, bail is set. There are some offenses that are not eligible for bail. From the Orange County Bail Schedule, the following are not eligible for bail:
- Capital crimes (i.e. murder with special circumstance), when the facts are evident or the presumption great.
- Felony offenses involving act of violence on another person when the facts are evident or the presumption great and the court finds based upon clear and convincing evidence that there is a substantial likelihood the person’s release would result in great bodily harm to others; or
- Felony offenses when the facts are evident or the presumption great and the court finds based upon clear and convincing evidence that the person has threatened another with great bodily harm and that there is a substantial likelihood that the person would carry out the threat if released.
In cases where bail is set, you can post cash or property sufficient to cover the bail amount or go through a bail bonds company. Bail bond agents typically charge 8 to 10% of the bail amount as their charge to post a bond for the entire bail. Here is a link to the Orange County Bail Schedule (opens link to PDF file).
Before deciding to posting bail, take a minute to read another post I wrote – “Should I post bail?”
Next – get a lawyer.
In fact, you may want to get a lawyer before making the decision to post bail. Why? There may be things I can do to get my clients released without having to post bail and/or reduce the amount of the bail. Sometimes, that release can be accomplished the same day. If not, by preparing for the first court date (the “arraignment”), a reduction in bail or an “OR” release can happen. Yes, it means they stay in jail for a couple of days before going to court, but it may save you thousands of dollars. If bail is required, I can recommend a bail bond company I know will work quickly and efficiently on behalf of my clients to get them released as soon as possible.
Don’t make a snap decision about which attorney to hire. Be careful with ones that are in a rush to get you to sign up over the phone right away. I always wonder how attorneys can quote a fee for representation without knowing anything about the case either. I always like to find out as much as I can – the facts, my client’s prior record (if any) and any legal issues with the case. That gives me a better idea what it will take to get the best outcome – and is what I find to be the fairest way to set fees. For more, see “How to choose a criminal defense attorney”.
To discuss the case further, give me a call or send an email.