Bail Review Hearing

The Bail Review Hearing is the next step in the legal process for a felony if the issue of bail was not previously satisfactorily and reasonably set at the arraignment. Bail allows you to be released from the San Diego County Jail, unless you receive an O.R. (release on your own recognizance (payment is waived on condition you promise to appear in court). As your criminal defense legal counse’, we will fight for the bail to be reduced to the absolute lowest amount, if at all, to avoid you paying the bail in cash or via a bail bondsman.

In general, defendants who are charged with a felony and are released on “O.R. status” must have strong ties to the community, making them unlikely to flee.

The factors we use to convince a judge to grant an O.R. release include the following:

  • You have little or no past criminal record, or any previous criminal problems you had were minor and occurred many years earlier.
  • You have other family members (most likely parents, a spouse or children) living in the San Diego community.
  • You have resided here for many years.
  • You have a job in the County.
  • You have been charged with previous crimes, but have always appeared as required (in other words, there have been no prior arrest warrants or “failures to appear”).

You may either pay the bail amount with a cashier’s check, credit card, or cash equivalent (real estate). In the alternative, you can use a bail bondsman who works with a surety company to provide a bond (insurance) to the court that will guarantee you will make your future court appearances. If we are your counsel, we will assist you to appear in court at the proper time so that the Superior Court Judge refunds the bail (we will also remind you to discuss the details with your bail bondsman).

Please note that if you do not show up, the San Diego Superior Court keeps the bail and the judge will issue a warrant for your arrest. We handle many felony cases in San Diego County involving arrest warrants, and clients retain our services to go to court to have the warrant recalled, discharged or released. We will do the same for you if we are employed as your felony defense lawyers in San Diego, CA.

Under the California Penal Code, the bail amount must be stated in a court order or on the arrest warrant. There are published or standard bail schedules for most jails for each alleged violation. You can usually buy a bail bond for between 8 percent and 10 percent of the amount of your bail; this premium is the bond seller’s fee for taking the risk you do not appear in court. A bail bond may cost you more in the long run. If you pay the full amount of the bail with cash or the equivalent, you will get that money back (less a small administrative fee) as long as you make your scheduled court appearances. On the other hand, the 8 percent to 10 percent premium you pay to a bail bondsman is not refundable. In addition, some bail bondsmen may also require “collateral.” This means you (or the person who pays for your bail bond) must give the bail bondsman a financial interest in some of your valuable property. The bail bondsman can cash-in this interest if you fail to appear in court.

At Spital & Associates, we have the highest AVVO rating and we will represent you at the bail hearing, seeking releases without posting bail (O.R.) and/or we will file a written motion and go to court to obtain a bail reduction consistent with your ability to pay, likelihood of you appearing at court hearings and the alleged crime.

In federal court, a person taken to jail must be brought “without unnecessary delay before the nearest available . . . magistrate.” In state court proceedings, you can be brought to court for a bail hearing within 48 hours (not counting weekends and holidays) of the time of your booking. We focus on both Superior Court and Federal Court criminal cases.

There are restrictions on how high bail can be set. The Eighth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution requires that bail not be excessive. This means bail should not be used to raise money for the government or to punish a person for being “suspected” of committing a crime. The purpose of bail is to give an arrested person his or her freedom until convicted of a crime, and the amount of bail must be no more than is reasonably necessary to keep a person from fleeing before his or her case is over. Some judges allow and/or set a high bail in particular types of cases (such as those involving drug sales or rape) to keep a suspect in jail until the trial is over. This is often referred to as bail set for “preventative detention,” and it is thought by some to violate the Constitution, even though this practice has continued in many courts.