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 to appear.
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.