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Los Angeles Bail Jumping Defense Lawyer

The cash bail system in the courts across the country has been under fire in recent years. Perhaps the primary criticism of that system is that it connects freedom during the pendency of your criminal case to the ability to pay – or to put up assets sufficient to cause a bail bond company to put up the money on your behalf in the form of a bond. No matter how you phrase it, your freedom while your criminal case is pending is often dependent upon your financial condition.

How Bail is Set in California

You might expect, given the ramifications of a cash bail system, that there would be stringent guidelines setting forth the bail amount for the various crimes in the Penal Code. The fact, though, is that each county in California has developed its own bail standards, which means that a particular offense in San Diego might lead to a different bail amount in Los Angeles – the offense is the same, other factors are the same, but in one county you are subject to a different bail amount than in another.

In addition to the nature and severity of the current charge, several factors are generally considered by the court when setting the amount of bail. Some of those factors are:

  • EmploymentWhether the defendant is employed, and if so, the circumstances of that employment.
  • Criminal History. The court will look at the past criminal history of the defendant.
  • Ties to the Community. The greater the ties of the defendant to the community – nearby relatives, length of employment, etc. – the greater the chances that bail will be granted.

These factors are not meant to be exhaustive, but they can provide you with a general idea of whether bail will be set at a higher or lower level of the range in that particular county.

Finally, it is worth noting that the amount of bail is not a collaborative effort. It is set by the judge, and while there are some restrictions on the amount of bail that may be set, the judge’s views on the subject may be difficult – although not impossible – to challenge.

Bail Amounts and Bail Bonds

Perhaps the single most significant factor in setting bail is the underlying offense with which you are charged. This involves a couple of separate factors. First, a more serious offense generally results in a higher bail amount. The courts also take into account the fact that the impetus to jump bail and the potential consequences to the community are significantly higher when the charge is a serious felony than when you have been arrested for a minor misdemeanor. And bail jumping is seen as less likely when you have significant ties to the community.

The amount of money you actually lay out for a bail bond is not the same everywhere. Every state has its own bail laws. They run from states that model their bail laws on the federal counterpart, to those (like New Jersey and Alaska) that have abolished the cash bail system in most cases.

Common bail amounts in Los Angeles County are listed below. Note that the amount can be adjusted by the judge at the urging of the defense, the prosecution, the police, or on the judge’s own initiative. Those amounts are as follows:

  • Robbery – $50,000 to $100,000 (depending on whether the charge is first degree or second degree robbery).
  • Protective Order Violation – $50,000.
  • Burglary – $20,000 to $50,000.
  • Grand Theft – This will depend on the nature of the theft, whether a gun was used, whether the object of the theft was a motor vehicle, etc. Generally, the amount will be up to $50,000.
  • Drug Charges – From $10,000 to millions of dollars. The amount will be a function of a number of factors, including the amount and nature of the drug in question, and the specifics of the crime alleged, among other issues.

Obviously, the amount of bail can vary significantly from one charge to another. Also relevant will be the criminal history of the defendant, ties to the community, and other factors.

What is “Bail Jumping?”

Simply stated, “bail jumping” is the failure to appear in court as required by the judge, after you have been released on bail. In addition to forfeiting the amount of bail (or the amount of the bond posted), bail jumping itself can be charged as a felony. The new charge will be in addition to the underlying crime for which bail was granted.

Bail Defense Attorney in Los Angeles

Apart from the physical and mental discomfort of spending time in jail waiting for your criminal case to be heard, it also prevents you from participating, to a large degree, in your defense on the underlying charge. If you were granted bail and fail to show up when required by the judge, you are also facing a possible felony charge in addition to the charge for which bail was originally set.

If you are charged with bail jumping, you obviously have a lot at stake. Contact Chris Bou Saeed, an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer. Chris offers a free consultation, and he will provide you with an accurate assessment of your situation, including the risks involved, and an intelligent strategy for your defense. Call CBS Law at (213) 800-8005

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