Brian A. Vogel - Attorney at Law - Ventura County

At the Law Offices of Brian A. Vogel, PC, we will make every effort to secure your release as quickly and inexpensively as possible under the circumstances presented by your particular case. Call 805-654-0400 for more information and assistance in securing release from jail on your own recognizance or lowering the amount of your bail if you are incarcerated in the Ventura County Jail, Todd Road Jail, Santa Barbara Jail, or Van Nuys jail. Securing your release is usually the first issue to be addressed after an arrest.

In California, a person accused of a crime has both statutory and Constitutional rights regarding bail. The purpose of bail is to ensure the defendant's appearance in court. While most police officers and on call magistrates will initially set bail at a pre-determined bail schedule based upon the charges for which the defendant was arrested, this (usually high) bail amount can be lowered in a number of ways. For example, the District Attorney may be persuaded to file lesser charges or fewer counts, which would result in a lower bail setting at the arraignment. Further, at the arraignment, a judge will decide whether to set bail at the schedule, set bail at a lower amount, or release the defendant on his or her promise to appear, (release on his or her "own recognizance" or "OR"). In making this decision, the judge will consider several factors including, but not limited to: public safety, the nature and seriousness of the offense charged, the defendant's prior criminal history including prior failures to appear in court, the defendant's ties to the community including how long he or she has lived in the jurisdiction, family ties to the jurisdiction, the location and length of employment, and whether he or she owns any property in the jurisdiction.

In general, there are four ways to make bail or be released from jail pre-trial. You should consult with a lawyer regarding the best approach in the particular case. Considerations will include the cost, how important it is to obtain immediate release, and the likelihood of an acquittal or dismissal of the charges or the possibility of having to serve additional time in custody later. The actual legal rules regarding bail or pre-trial release from jail vary in each jurisdiction. For this reason alone, you should talk to a lawyer familiar with the practices in the jurisdiction in which you are incarcerated. However, there are some general concepts that are fairly common in California state cases.

1. Own Recognizance Release: A person may be released from the jail after booking or may be considered for an "OR" release. Some jails have a unit with staff present who will evaluate a person for OR release or bail reduction. This process may take a few hours or, sometimes, days. Sometimes the release can only occur after a Judge has ruled on the OR or bail reduction. Depending on the jurisdiction and the circumstances of the case, a slight delay in release may be well-advised in order to avoid the posting of bail or a bail bond. In other jurisdictions or under other circumstances, waiting for an OR or bail reduction determination could result in needless additional days spent in jail.

Either the Court or the staff acting on the Court's orders can impose conditions on an OR release such as reporting regularly, staying within the jurisdiction, surrendering a passport or other conditions.

2. Bail Bond: The person arrested or the friends or family of that person may contact a bail bond agent and arrange for a corporate surety (a bail bond). While many bailbond companies and the people employed by them are knowledgeable about the issues affecting the setting of bail, they are generally powerless to affect the amount in which bail is set and can only post a bond in the amount that the authorities have set. Bailbond companies make their money by agreeing to post the full amount of the bail bond in exchange for a "premium" or fee which is often as much as ten percent of the full amount of the bail. THE BAILBOND COMPANY KEEPS THE PREMIUIM even if the defendant makes all of his court appearances and his case is resolved without a failure to appear. Bailbond companies do not post bonds for free. Security is generally required for the total amount of the bail. If there are no holds or restrictions on release such as a parole hold or an immigration hold, the person will usually be released within a few hours of the posting of the bond. Generally, as long as the person makes all court appearances, the bond will be discharged at the end of the case. If the person does not appear, the bond will be forfeited and the person or the friends or family arranging for it may be liable to the bond company for the full amount of the bail. Carefully read any contract that you make with a bailbond company BEFORE you sign it!

Only an attorney should advise the defendant his or her family members as to how to lower the bail or arrange for an OR release. Only an attorney can arrange for real property (real estate or other valuable property) to be used as collateral for bail. If the defendant or familymember posts the entire amount of the bail, he or she will receive back the entire amount of the bail posted at the conclusion of the case.

3. Cash Bail: The person arrested or his or her friends or family can post cash with the jail in the amount of the bail. Usually this has to be in the form of actual cash or a cashier's check. There are some jurisdictions which will allow the use of a credit card. If cash bail has been posted, it will all be returned to the person posting it at the end of the case as long as the person arrested has made all of his or her court appearances and followed all orders of the Court. On the other hand, if the person arrested does not appear in court, the cash will be forfeited to the Court.

4. Property in Lieu of Bail: It is generally possible to post real property in lieu of bail. Depending on the jurisdiction, this usually requires proving that the person posting the property has equity of more than two times the amount of bail. This procedure generally requires proof of title, (a title report), proof of encumbrances and court approval. The procedure generally takes time and is usually appropriate in high bail cases where a person is willing to spend a few days in jail pending the Court's approval.

At the Law Offices of Brian A. Vogel, PC, we will act quickly to secure your release as soon as possible. Call (805) 654-0400 for more information and assistance in securing release from jail on your promise to appear or in lowering the amount of your bail, or in arranging to pledge property in lieu of bail.

Brian A. Vogel - Attorney at Law - Ventura County

770 County Square Drive, Suite 104
Ventura, CA 93003

  Phone: (805) 654-0400
  Fax: (805) 654-0326
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