Release From Custody (Bail and O.R)
When you or someone you care about is arrested, we know that one of
the first things you want to do is get him out. Well, how you get him
out? How about bail? Can it be lowered? Or can he be released on his
own recognizance (O.R.)?
In general, when someone is arrested for an infraction or misdemeanor,
they may be released with a citation based upon their promise to appear
in court on the date scheduled. They are released on their "own recognizance"
to appear at all future court dates. If they go to all court appearances,
then they never have to worry about bail or being in custody while their
case is unresolved. But if they fail to appear in court, a bench warrant
will be issued for their arrest and they can be charged with a failure
Bail is usually more of an issue when it comes to arrests for felonies
and "wobblers." (Wobblers are cases that can be charged as either felonies
or misdemeanors.) In those cases, the district attorney will determine
if it is to be filed as a misdemeanor or felony. Be retaining an attorney
early, your legal counsel's early involvement in this process helps
mitigate the charges against the defendant.
Each county has a bail schedule, which lists the bail that applies
to each different type of case. It is possible to get that amount lowered,
depending upon the type of crime that is charged, and the history of
each individual defendant. The court considers such factors as whether
the defendant is a danger to the community, and whether or not the defendant
is a flight risk.
Bail may be posted directly with the court clerk or law enforcement
agency having custody of the defendant. Or a bail bondsman may be used.
Usually a bail bondsman will require a fee of around 10% of the amount
of the bail. The bail bondsman may also require collateral to secure
the bond. The 10% fee is not recoverable.
A skilled criminal defense attorney can be extremely helpful in getting
bail reduced, or helping a defendant be released on his or her own recognizance.