Pre-Trial Release in Domestic violence cases

If you are arrested for a DV case, you may have to post a bond before you are released from jail.  Bail amounts can vary depending on the county in which you are arrested.  Most counties require some amount of bail on a DV case.  On misdemeanor DV charges, bail ranges from $5000 to $10,000 dollars.  In felony cases, bail ranges from $50,000 to $100,000. If serious bodily injury, weapons, or prior DV related convictions are involved bail can increase significantly.          

Bail Motion at FIrst COurt Date

In some cases, the prosecutor may ask for an increase in bail at the arraignment especially in cases where there are significant injuries, the defendant has DV priors, or the victim fears the defendant.  If you are not prepared for the bail motion, you will be taken into custody in court.  The court may also impose bail release terms and/or “Supervised Release” while your case is pending.  Supervised release requires you to report to probation to be monitored during the pendency of your case.

Bail/OR Release Terms

In some cases, because of bad facts or other aggravating factors or enhancements, the court may order “Bail” or “OR Release” terms while your case is pending.   This could include checking in with probation regularly, a stay away order, and search and seizure for weapons or electronic devices. You may also be required to attend counseling or wear a GPS device on your ankle that monitors your location.      

Supervised Bail/OR Release

In some cases, because of bad facts or other aggravating factors or enhancements, the court may order “Supervised Release” while your case is pending.    This will include checking in with probation regularly, a stay away order, and search and seizure for weapons or electronic devices. You may also be required to attend counseling or wear a GPS device on your ankle that monitors your location.      

“Own Recognizance Release”

There may be circumstances when an individual will be released on their “Own Recognizance.”  ‘Own Recognizance’ is when no bail money is paid and no bond is posted you are simply released after signing a promise to appear on your court date.  If you fail to appear, a warrant will be issued for your arrest. 

Posting Bail

There are 2 reasons why a county makes a person post bail.  The first is to make sure the person shows up for their court date.  The second is for public safety.  In DV cases, the court looks first and foremost at the public safety reason for bail.  The court has the authority to increase the amount of bail if they believe that the person is a risk to public safety.  Usually, these are in multiple offender, serious injury, or Felony DV cases.    

Bail Release

In most counties, some amount of bail is required to be paid for release.  On misdemeanor DV charges, bail ranges from $5000 to $10,000 dollars.  In felony cases, bail ranges from $50,000 to $100,000. If serious bodily injury, weapons, or prior to DV related convictions are involved bail can increase significantly.          

How Bail Works

There are 3 options for posting bail.  You can post a cash bond, put property up as collateral, or pay a bail bondsman a 7% to 10% premium to post your bond. 

Posting a Cash Bond

The cash bond you simply pay to the court the full amount of the bail in cash.  Cash bonds may be posted at the Court during regular hours or at the jail, after hours.  Cash bonds posted at the jail, must be paid with the exact dollar amount; the jail will not make change.  If the bail is $2500, you pay the $2500 in cash to the jail and you will be released.  At the end of your case when the bond is exonerated, the county will send you back your bail money or you can choose to apply it towards your fines and fees.  Sometimes the court charges a small administrative fee which is deducted from the refund.          

Posting a Bond through a Bail Bond Company 

A bail bond is a contract between the accused and a bail bond agent. Under the contract, you promise to appear in court when ordered and the bail bondsman promises to post bail for you. You have to pay the bail bondsman a specified premium, which is typically 8% if you have an attorney and 10% if you don’t have an attorney.  If your bail is $10,000, you would have to pay $800 at 8% to the bondsman to get you out of jail.  Even if your case gets dismissed, you still owe the bondsman the premium.  If you don’t show up for court, the bond gets forfeited.  This means that the bail bond company is responsible for the full $10,000 to the court.  When a bond is forfeited, you will have the bondsman actively looking for you and require any co-signors to come up with the $10,000.  After your court case is resolved, the bond is exonerated and the bail company no longer is responsible to the court for the bail.  If you still owe the bail company money on the premium you would still have to pay them the balance.     

Posting A Property Bond

Posting a property bond means you pledge the value of real property to the court to guarantee you will appear in court.  If you don’t come to court when you are supposed to, the court will take the posted property as if it were cash bail.  Before the court can accept the property as bail, there will be a hearing. At the hearing, the court will determine who is the legal owner of the property and how much it is worth.  Most courts require double the amount of bail in equity on the property.  If bail is $100,000, you would need to post a property that has at least $200,000 in equity.  At the end of the case when the bond is exonerated, the court will release its interest in your property.  Property bonds can be very time consuming and expensive to do because you usually need an appraisal of the value of the property and it requires a court hearing to approve the posting.   

Forfeiture of Bail Bond

When a defendant released on cash bail fails to appear in court, or violates a condition of their bail, the court can declare the bail bond forfeited.  If a bail bond is forfeited, a warrant will be issued and you will be taken into custody when located.  The cash bail or property posted with the court will now belong to the court.  If you used a bail bond company, they will be on the hook for the amount of your bond.  The court will usually give the bond company 180 days to locate you and bring you back to court before they have to pay.  You can bet they are going to do everything to locate you and put you into custody.         

Bail Bond company Revocation of Bond

If you don’t pay your bondsman or if they think you are not going to come to your court dates, they can revoke your bond.  They will detain you and either present you to the court or to the jail to be taken back into custody.  You would then have to find another bondsman willing to bond you out. 

Reassumption of Forfeited Bail Bond

If your bond gets forfeited for missing your court date, you can usually clear the warrant and have the bond reinstated.  First, you would need to contact the court to get your case on calendar.  Each court has a different procedure for getting a case on calendar to clear a warrant.  Check with the superior court to find out the process.  Next, you will need to contact your bondsman to have them provide you and the court a bond reassumption.  Sometimes the court will charge a $75 fee for reinstating a forfeited bond.   

Bond Co-signor

Co-signing a bail bond requires that you sign a promissory note or an indemnity agreement obligating you to pay the full amount of the bond if the accused person does not appear in court.  If you co-sign for someone’s bond, you are financially on the hook if they don’t show for court.      

Exoneration of bail Bond

When the Court exonerates a bond, it releases the bond poster of financial responsibility.  If a Surety Bond was posted, the bond is returned to the Surety company.  If cash was posted, then cash will be returned to the one who posted it.  If property was posted, it will be conveyed back to the owner. 

Expungement

Even if you are convicted of domestic violence, you can still get your case expunged.  All misdemeanors and most felonies can be expunged.    An expungement allows you to lawfully answer that you have never been convicted of a crime.  To be eligible, you must have successfully completed probation, paid all your fines and fees, and completed the terms of your probation.  It is important that you present the best case to the judge hearing your request for a dismissal if you want the judge to grant the dismissal. When you hire our law firm, we will help you with your expungement so that your criminal record and history our as clean as possible.

You don’t have to plead guilty, contact our office today for a free same day consultation

We have successfully represented many individuals accused of domestic violence charges.  Even in tough cases, we are almost always able to get a better resolution in a case then if you handled it yourself, had the public defender, or other private attorney.  Our experienced and aggressive negotiating efforts usually result in dismissed or reduced charges and lesser punishment including less jail days, shorter classes, and smaller fines. Call our office today at (916) 939-3900 or (530) 621-1800 for a free consultation.