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The cash bail system in most of the United States has been heavily criticized as being unfair to those who do not have the financial means to get out of jail.
In San Diego, criminal defendants must pay a fee to get out of jail until the date of their trial. If they don’t have enough money, they can be stuck in jail until that day. Over time, many people realized that this system rewards those who can afford bail and punishes those who can’t. In some cases, people charged with serious offenses go free almost immediately, while others stay in jail awaiting trial for a year or longer simply because they can’t afford to post bail.
Cash bail allows people with disposable income to buy their freedom temporarily. Some lawmakers in California are working to change that.
If you’ve been arrested recently, working with a San Diego criminal defense lawyer can help you understand your charges and possible prospects.
How does the current bail system work in California?
California’s model resembles what remains in place in most states. People who are arrested may either post bail — a fee which varies based on the seriousness of the crime, the defendant’s criminal history, and other factors — or sit in jail until their trial.
If you want to post bail, you have several options available to you:
- You pay the bail amount if you could afford it
- You get a relative or friend pay your bail
- The court could allow you to pay 10% of your bail to get out
- You could contact a bail bondsman to get you out
A bail bondsman may post 10% of your bail on your behalf after you paid him 10% of the bail amount. The court will then pay him 10% of the bail when you show up for court. Otherwise, the bail bondsman loses that 10%. This incentive ensures defendants appear in court when they are scheduled to appear.
What would California’s new bail system look like?
Judges would no longer rely on how much disposable income a person has to determine whether or not they can be released from jail. There would be no more cash bail and thus no more bail bondsmen. Everyone who is arrested in San Diego would have a hearing within the first 24 hours of being arrested. The judge would decide whether a defendant may leave jail until their next court appearance. They would need to consider the following when making this choice:
- Whether you are a flight risk
- What offense you were charged with
- Whether the offense was violent
- Whether you were charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense
- Whether you have a criminal past or it’s your first crime
- Whether you’re a threat to society or yourself
There are three types of offenders who may or may not be released:
- Low Risk — Low-risk offenders are released immediately. They are not believed to be a threat to the community and are likely to return to the next scheduled court hearing.
- Moderate Risk — Moderate risk offenders may require the judge to think more carefully about the factors above. They may or may not be released from jail immediately.
- High Risk — High-risk offenders are considered a flight risk. High-risk offenders stay in jail until their trial.
Contact Dod Law for Quality Representation in San Diego
Your freedom is important and is worth fighting for. Whether you face a misdemeanor or felony conviction, your case is serious and deserves top representation. Attorney Dod of Dod Law helps people from all walks of life resolve all types of criminal cases throughout San Diego, and he has more than 17 years of experience doing so. His experience includes more than 75 jury trials and more than 400 preliminary hearings. Call (619) 814-5110 or complete our contact form for a free consultation.