California is proud of the fact that they were the first state to officially get rid of the cash bail system. Effective October of this year, cash bail no longer exists in San Diego. With the new bail system in California, if you’re arrested only one of two things can happen. Either you’ll be out of jail within a day or two, or you’ll stay in jail until your trial. There is no longer anything in between.
It used to be that you had a chance to come up with bail or you were stuck in jail until trial. However, there were a lot of complaints that this was discriminatory against people who had no money. For example, you could be charged with a serious crime and get out the next day if you could afford bail. However, if you were arrested for panhandling and didn’t have $100, you could sit in jail for a year waiting for trial.
The courts finally realized that this wasn’t fair. The system was designed to favor people with money and property. For people who didn’t have any money, they could end up sitting in prison for a year or longer for a simple misdemeanor. This is why the new system isn’t based on money at all. It depends on how serious your crime was and what your risk is to the community. Here, we’ll talk about how bail used to work compared to how it works today.
What Was the System Like Before the New Law?
Prior to this past month, if you were arrested in San Diego, you were going to either come up with bail or sit in jail until trial. There were a lot of options for you to come up with the bail. If your bail was low enough, you would simply pay it and you’d be released. Or, the court may have allowed you to pay 10% of your total bail in order to go home. Finally, if you didn’t have that kind of money, you could turn to a bail bondsman.
The way a bail bondsman worked was quite simple. They’d put the money up to pay your bail. Then, if you took off and didn’t show up for court, they’d be out the 10% they paid. On the other hand, if you showed up for court, your bondsman would keep your 10% as your fee.
If you couldn’t pay the bail bondsman, they’d ask you to put up collateral. Usually, they’ll require that you have one or more cosigners. This way, if you did take off, the bondsman could go after your family for the money. Or, if you lost your case and ended up in jail, your bondsman would go after your family to get paid. They will want back at least their 10% fee.
How Does the New Bail System in California Work?
Now, under the new bail system, there is no cash bail. This means, for the most part, there will be no bail bondsmen. The new system is based on your flight risk and threat to the community.
Everyone who is arrested in San Diego will have a hearing within the first day. At this hearing, the judge is going to decide if you’re eligible to leave jail or not. They’ll look at the following things:
- Are you a flight risk?
- What kind of crime have you been charged with?
- Was your crime a violent crime?
- Did you commit a misdemeanor or a felony?
- Do you have a criminal history?
- Are you a threat to society?
- Are you a threat to yourself?
Once the judge has answered these questions, they’ll decide whether you will be released from jail. There are three types of offenders:
- Low risk – these defendants will be released from prison right away. The court believes low-risk offenders are more likely to show up to court later on.
- Moderate Risk – The judge will have a say in whether or not they’ll let you out. If you’re let out, you’ll have to show back up to trial. If your trial doesn’t go well, you may be sentenced to jail anyway.
- High Risk – Because you’re considered a flight risk, the court will probably keep you in jail. This means you’ll sit in alternate conditions to determine if you’re a threat to society or yourself.
Call an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer in San Diego Today
If you or your loved one has been accused of a crime, you need the help of an attorney to take your case. You may be facing a strict sentence or you have penalties that are severe. Call and speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney in San Diego right away about your case.
Your lawyer will review your case and let you know what the law for crimes like yours. They’ll get your version of events and answer any questions you might have about your case. Call us today and schedule your initial consultation.