If you have been arrested and the crime is a felony, chances are the State of California will keep you in custody pending the conclusion of your case. However, you are entitled to a bail hearing to determine the amount of bail, if any, will be set.
If you are in custody it is a very stressful and difficult time. Regardless, retaining an experienced and knowledgeable Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney should be a priority and the first thing you do. During a bail hearing, there are several elements to be proven. Without the proper legal background and expertise, you would not be able to adequately and quickly prepare for the hearing.
When granting or denying bail, the Court will consider two elements; 1) is there a flight risk and 2) is there a harm to society.
The facts behind each element will be weighed by the Judge in making an order for bail. The Judge will rely on evidence and oral arguments presented by either the person being charged, or their attorney if they are represented, and the prosecutor. Remember, it will always be the prosecutor’s goal to keep bail high, or set no bail.
The first element the court will consider is whether the person being charged is a flight risk. A flight risk is someone who, if let out of jail pending their trial, will flee the state and disappear. The way an attorney proves flight risk is by showing that they have significant ties to the community, family, and/or a job. Let’s consider the example of David. David is being charged with felony armed robbery. Prosecutors want to set high bail and are stating that he may run. David’s Los Angeles attorney argues that he has family and extended family in the area, and nowhere else. He has a full time job that he has had for eight years, and he is an active member in the church where he lives. His entire life has been in the area as he has resided there for 30 years. The change for him to flee is low.
In contrast consider the example of Dina. Dina has no family in the state. Her entire family is in Hawaii, where she is from. She has been unemployed for a year and rents an apartment from a friend with no lease. The chances that Dina will flee are much higher than that of David. The court may consider lowering David’s bail, but maybe not Dina’s.
The second element is a risk to the community. The court will consider whether the person being charged should be kept in custody, or if they are released will cause injury or harm to someone else. Let’s consider another example. Don has been charged with identity theft as a felony. Identity theft is not a violent crime, and the chances that Don will be released and he will harm members of the community are low. Consider Dan, who has been charged with attempted murder and murder in the first degree. The court is not as likely to assume that if Dan is released on bail, he will not harm or cause injury to someone else.
A bail hearing involves a lot of evidence and strong oral argument. It makes the difference between being kept in custody or being released. If you find yourself in these circumstances, don’t gamble on your freedom, contact a Criminal Defense Specialist as soon as possible!