Once someone you know is arrested and taken into custody, are you aware of what will happen in the bail hearing? If the person is not released, they will be taken to court where a judge must decide if they will be released or not.
Bail approval is dependent on several different things, such as the actual crime, the criminal history of the dependent and whether they are a flight risk, among other things. A bail hearing is set on a predetermined schedule. There is not a preference on how someone gets a hearing. This depends primarily on the date that the defendant was arrested. During the first appearance in front of the judge, the prosecutor and the defense attorney will make statements on why the defendant should or should not receive bail.
In some states, bail bond amounts are somewhat preset by having a minimum and maximum amount determined based on how serious the crime is as well as class. The specific bail amount is at the discretion of the judge.
The judge will then listen to the arguments and determine if the defendant is a threat to the community and if they will make scheduled court appearances. If there is strong evidence against the defendant, the judge will more than likely refuse bail.
Once a bail amount has been set, someone can pay for the accused’s bond. The accused also has the option of turning to a bail bonds agent who will then leverage the money in exchange for collateral and a percentage to be paid up front. The defendant will then be allowed to leave jail. However, if the defendant does not do their part of the agreement, then the collateral will be seized.
Although many minor felonies don’t require a court appearance, criminal cases will often require someone to post bail for you if you don’t have the money yourself. This can be distressing, so demystifying the process of obtaining bail bonds in Orange County, and the bail stages you go through in a criminal case can do much to help you or other family members get through the process.
Minor crimes – bail is often a set amount, and you could be released from custody within hours of the money being received.
When it’s more serious – however, for violent crimes, or for habitual offenders, the bail amount might need the attention of a judge, in which case you may find yourself held in custody until the next available court date. The assumption may be that you might not appear at court, so bail is likely to be high.
Bail bonds – in these cases, you’ll need the help of the bail bondsman. When buying bail bonds in Orange County or anywhere else, the bondsman will generally ask for a fee of around 10% of the bail amount to be paid to him. Unlike posting bail yourself, the bondsman will keep this for his services rather than returning the money to you.
Of good character – it’s a rather antiquated phrase, but if you are a first-time offender, or otherwise a pillar of the community, you may be released on your own recognizance; effectively, your word is your bond that you will attend court.
Go to court – failure to appear will mean a warrant is immediately issued for your arrest, and if you paid a bail bondsman, a bounty hunter will be sent to collect you. The financial consequences are also dire, as your bail money will not be returned to you, friends, or family.
A California law known as the DNA Act requires that law enforcement take a DNA sample from every adult arrested for or charged with any felony. Law enforcement uses a cheek swab to gather the DNA sample shortly after the person is arrested.
The United States Supreme Court reviewed a similar law recently with a case called Maryland vs King. The Supreme Court decided that the cheek swab DNA collection of a suspect after arrest for an offense deemed serious was reasonable. The Supreme Court also approved the analysis of the collected DNA.
Recently however, a California court broke the Supreme Court’s King holding. The Second Division of the California First District Court of Appeal was faced with a case revolving around a man arrested for setting fire to a San Francisco police car. A few hours after his arrest, a sheriff’s deputy asked the man to provide the mandatory DNA sample while he was sitting in county jail.
The man refused to comply, despite knowing that he would be charged with non-compliance. A jury convicted the man of his crimes, including the misdemeanor crime for non-compliance.
Instead of following the Supreme Court’s lead, the California appeals court reversed the man’s conviction for noncompliance in regards to that DNA sample. The California court looked at several distinctions between the DNA Act and the Maryland Law.
The Maryland Law had several differences, including only allowing a DNA sample if the officer has enough probable cause to believe that the accused is guilty, as well as expungement of the DNA, if the accused is not convicted.
This decision underscores the ability of state courts to make their own judgments about the constitution. Because of recent developments, California’s DNA Act faces an unclear future.
In California, you can be charged for a misdemeanor offense if you are found guilty of being drunk in public. This offense is usually referred to as public intoxication and covers a number of disorderly conducts. If you drink, here are 6 ideas that will help you avoid arrest for public intoxication:
Drink at home or private property
If you drink at home or private property, you cannot get arrested for public intoxication. If you want to drink more than usual, you will be safer enjoying your drinks at home or at a friend’s place.
Have a designated driver
Driving when drunk can make you obstruct other road users due to impaired judgment, which can lead you to be charged for an offense. Always have a designated driver on standby to take you home after drinking.
Avoid walking home when drunk
If you are drunk, take a cab home rather than walking alone. You can put yourself and others in danger as you stagger along the road or streets. When you’ve had too much to drink, have a friend drop you home.
Stick to the state alcohol limit
Check your state’s alcohol limit and stick to it. Buy a personal alcohol breathalyzer to test your blood alcohol level when you are out drinking. You can be charged for an offense if your blood alcohol level is determined to be above the recommended limit.
Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
Taking too much alcohol can make you wild, causing mayhem on the streets and other public areas. Know how much alcohol you can take before it impairs your judgment.
Ultimately, taking alcohol can lead to various health problems. Try to quit drinking to lead a healthier life. For example, you can drink water periodically as you drink to reduce your alcohol consumption.
Parents generally don’t hover around their children to see what they are getting into these days, but with the proliferation of Internet-enabled devices and Internet access, including schools, parents should consider being more interested in what their kids are doing online.
You may not think your child could be guilty of cyber crime, or any crime, for that matter, but cyber-crime is one in particular in which the lines are gray and hazy. There can often be no black and white definition of what constitutes cyber-crime and kids can easily get pulled into a world where they are in over their heads if they aren’t careful. Something as seemingly innocent as a comment posted to another person’s social network page can be considered cyber-crime.
You don’t want your child’s future to be damaged by a juvenile record or criminal record that might carry over into adulthood, so make sure you educate yourself and your children about cyber-crime. A criminal record can cause problems in many areas of a teen’s future life as they try to take on the world on their own, so help them start out the right way when they’re ready to take those steps.
If your teen aged child has become caught in the system through acts they might’ve thought were innocent enough, you can get them out of jail by communicating with a legal representative as quickly as possible when you enlist the aid of a licensed bail bond agent. Don’t let your child, or other family member, languish in the possibly harsh conditions of jail any longer than necessary!
Being arrested can be a very traumatic experience, particularly when you don’t understand your rights. One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they are arrested is trying to talk their way out of being taken into custody. Many people go right into their stories about what happened, trying to explain that they were in the wrong place at the right time or that the entire situation was all a misunderstanding.
Keep mum until your attorney arrives.
If you find yourself on the wrong side of the law, the best thing that you can do is remain silent about what happened. Inform the arresting officer that you would like to make a phone call as soon as possible so that you can speak to an attorney, who will help you prepare for court.
Know your rights!
Once a suspect is in police custody and about to be questioned, the Miranda rights are read. The Supreme Court requires that suspects are informed about their right to silence, their right to a lawyer, including a public defender, their right to wave their Miranda rights and that anything that they say to their investigators under questioning following their detention can be used in court.
Stay alert when you speak!
Anything that you say to a police officer or investigator prior to being taken into custody and read the Miranda rights can be used in a court of law, including anything that you say to an officer without being prompted first. This includes interviews in which a person is free to leave the premises and converses at the alleged crime scene. Police officers do not have to read the Miranda rights to request basic identification.
Your Miranda rights continue to protect you even if you waive them following an arrest. You have the right to stop answering questions and request a lawyer at any point during an interrogation.
Whether you love or hate the California legal system, you have to admire its efforts to keep the society a safer place. In California, juveniles are not treated the same way as adults if they are arrested for a crime. Usually, these crimes are handled by juvenile courts, which view the crime as delinquency. If a minor is convicted of delinquency, the courts believe in rehabilitation rather than incarceration.
What crimes prosecute juveniles as adults in CA?
In California legal systems, a minor can be treated and prosecuted as an adult based on the gravity of the crime committed. This holds good for minors 14 years and above. In certain situations, such minors can be tried as adults. The prosecutors have the onus of deciding whether a minor who is a minimum of 14 years should be tried as an adult for certain crimes or not.
Trying minors as adults
There are certain circumstances when minors between the ages of 14 and 17 are tried as adults. These circumstances include:
- The prosecutor files the case directly in the adult criminal case
- The juvenile court adjudges after a fitness hearing that the minor cannot be rehabilitated
- The minor is automatically tried as an adult for certain offenses
Crimes that could see juveniles prosecuted as adults
The crimes that a minor commits are the deciding factor. These crimes are listed down in the California Welfare & Institution Code Section 707 (b) and are used when the juvenile is considered unfit for rehabilitation.
Some of the crimes are as follows:
- Rape through violence or threat of bodily harm to the victim or force
- Arson leading to injury of a person
- Arson of an inhabited building or structure
- Robbery or theft of valuables
- Sodomy through threat of bodily harm to the victim, force or violence
- Committing a lewd act on another minor under the age of 14 through threats, violence or force
- Oral sex through force, threat of bodily harm or violence
- Attempted murder
- Assault using a firearm
- Firing a firearm in a populated building
This is a just a brief list and there are many more crimes to this list. You should consult a qualified attorney who specializes in California juvenile law for getting proper information.
What happens when a juvenile is tried as an adult?
When a juvenile is tried and found guilty as a minor, he or she is committed in the Division of Juvenile Facilities which is under the California Department of Corrections. The juvenile stays in the facility until attaining the age of 25.
The juvenile also can be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, based on how serious the crime was. However, under no circumstances can a juvenile be sentenced to death even if tried as an adult as per Californian law.
Understanding juvenile fitness hearing
A fitness hearing is done by the juvenile court judge. This hearing is to determine whether a juvenile charged with the crime can be rehabilitated after a court case in the juvenile court. The fitness hearing is conducted after the prosecutor files a fitness petition.
5 criteria of judgment
The juvenile court judge comes to a conclusion based on 5 criteria which are as follows:
- What level of criminal ability the juvenile displayed while committing the crime
- Whether the juvenile can be rehabilitated and returned to civil society before the juvenile court’s jurisdiction expires
- The previous crimes committed by the juvenile
- The circumstances and seriousness of the crime
- If the judge feels the juvenile cannot be rehabilitated, the juvenile is prosecuted as an adult, as per the prevailing laws of California.
Filing fitness petition
The prosecutor can request for a fitness hearing under certain circumstances which are as follows:
- The juvenile is at least 16 years at the time of committing and was the ward of the court. Furthermore, the juvenile should have committed two or more crimes after the age of 14
- The juvenile is a minimum of 14 years and committed one of the crimes mentioned in the Welfare and Institutions Code 707 (b)
If your child or ward is a minor and charged with a crime that could see him or her prosecuted as an adult, you should immediately seek assistance from a qualified and experienced attorney.
What does plea of ‘No Contest’ mean:
When you plead ‘no contest’ you do not receive a reduced sentence or get your court charges dismissed. This is an agreement that the judge will find as a factual basis for your plea and find you ‘guilty’. It has the same legal consequences as a guilty plea. It’s more beneficial if you plead ‘no contest’ when the court gives you a choice between a guilty plea and ‘no contest’ plea.
How the court judges it:
You are admitting guilt when you state, “I do not wish to contest.” It lets the court know that you or your loved one do not wish to go to trial and will allow the court to decide punishment for the charge.
You would be advised of the three step process under California Penal Code Section 1016(3) concerning no contest plea.
How does it prove advantageous?
- There are times when a ‘no contest’ plea contest can be more favorable than a guilty plea.
- Review California Penal Code Section 1016(3). There is information that states a ‘no contest’ plea in a misdemeanor criminal case cannot be used as evidence against you in a civil case.
- This means if you are responsible for injuries that are the basis for criminal charges, your ‘no contest’ plea to the criminal charges cannot be introduced against you in the civil case.
- If you would like to keep your case from going public.
- When the outcome of your trial is unclear.
What are its disadvantages?
- A first time drug offender cannot enter ‘no contest’ plea in a court of law.
- Although a ‘no contest’ plea in a misdemeanor criminal case cannot be used against you in a civil case; a ‘no contest’ plea in a felony criminal case can be used as evidence against you in a civil case.
What was your favorite hell-raising activity as a child? Stealing apples? Acting up in class? Ringing doorbells and running away? All of those things and more, no doubt – the childhood rites of passage that you giggle about with friends at the time, and sigh nostalgically over when you have kids of your own. However, in recent years, these five perfectly innocent incidents resulted in the police getting involved. You are forewarned that some are quite obnoxious.
- You remember all those times in class where the insult “so and so smells” was thrown around? Did you know that spraying fragrance from the bottle not even in retaliation but onto yourself would result in a court summons? Nor did 12 year old Sarah Bustamantes, but thanks to an over-zealous class teacher, that’s precisely what she got.
- Ever write the name of your sweetheart on your school desk, or just doodle aimlessly in a dull class? The worst that probably happened to you if you got caught was a verbal roasting from the principal, but another 12 year old, Alexa Gonzalez, found herself in handcuffs.
- The burps from too much soda when you were a kid were probably the source of much amusement to you and your friends. Less amusing is the trip to juvenile detention that an anonymous seventh-grader enjoyed for belching in a gym class.
- Kiss your sweetheart behind the bleachers? Of course you did. And out of sight of adults too. However, when a female student in Florida kissed a male student in her gym class, it was considered a potential sex crime.
- Most ludicrous of all is the five year old worthy of a police visit. What was her crime? Shoplifting? Breaking and entering? No. Late library books. Who knows what would have happened if she’d been unable to locate and return them.
When you are involved in a serious court case, whether it’s through your fault or because of someone else, getting yourself out of the legal quicksand and back on solid ground requires the skills of a talented and experienced attorney. In general, most felonies are considered pretty serious legal matters due to the fact that they usually involve a period of incarceration and payment of monetary damages, rather than the simple assessment of a fine or fee.
Felonies leave a very ugly mark on your criminal background check, which can close the doors to many opportunities in the future. Many employers perform background checks and will not hire convicted felons, certain federal programs like financial aid are denied to people with certain types of felonies, and you can even be prevented from attending certain schools or becoming involved in certain civic or community groups and organizations.
If you find yourself being charged with a serious crime, particularly a felony, make sure you obtain the services of a competent and skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A talented attorney knows how to make the system work for you and can challenge the accuracy of evidence, impeach the credibility of witnesses against you, or create doubt of your guilt through successful courtroom presentation. There are a variety of legally permissible tactics that an attorney can use to successfully represent a defendant in a criminal case.
Do your homework and find the best possible attorney to aggressively protect your rights and fight for your freedom when you become involved in serious legal trouble. Don’t leave your defense in the hands of a court-appointed attorney, an attorney with little courtroom experience, or one that does not have several years of experience handling matters that are identical to yours. Protect yourself with the best representation possible.