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What Happens at a Los Angeles DUI Bail Hearing?

  • September 1, 2017

    After you’re arrested for drunk driving, you’ll probably wait in jail for several hours. There’s a good chance that the jail guards will take you to see a judge or a magistrate within a day or two. The first hearing is usually a bail hearing. It’s also called a bond hearing.

    A bail hearing is the hearing that sets the conditions for your release while you wait for future court dates. This is the hearing where the court sets an amount of bond that you need to post in order to be released from jail. If you can come up with this amount of money, you can get out of jail while you wait for future proceedings.

    The court has discretion to determine the appropriate amount of bail. The bail amount that you receive may be different from the amount that the judge gives to the person before or after you. The judge has the discretion to look at the entire situation and determine what they think is fair for a bond amount.

    To determine the amount of your bail, the court looks at the offense you’re facing. If you’re facing a first drunk driving offense, the bail might be anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. If there’s a crash involved in the case or someone received serious injuries, the bail might be significantly more. The bail can also be more if you have a significant criminal history.

    In addition, if you have a history of skipping out on past court dates, the court might issue a very high bail amount. Typically, the courts don’t completely deny bail except for very serious offenses. If there’s a death during the alleged incident, that might be a reason to deny bail. Otherwise, most judges allow some kind of bail even if the amount is very high.

    Bail conditions

    When a judge sets bail in a DUI case, they usually impose conditions of bail as part of the release. That is, if the person facing the charges wants to stay out of jail on bail while they wait for future court dates, they have to comply with a list of rules. For alcohol or drug related DUI cases, a common term for bail is to avoid using alcohol or drugs.

    Sometimes, they might even make you take alcohol or drug screenings in order to prove that you’re in compliance with this requirement. Another term is to avoid drunk driving or avoid breaking any law of any unit of government. They might tell you to inform the court if you change your address or phone number.

    If you violate any condition of your bail, you might find yourself incarcerated until your next court date. That could be weeks or even months. If you do find yourself incarcerated because you can’t make bail or because the court revokes your bail, you typically get credit for any jail time that you serve as part of your final sentence in the case.

    Making bail

    After the judge sets a bail amount, you’re typically free to go as soon as you can post bail and the jail processes the paperwork. You can post the bail yourself, or a friend can post the bail for you. It’s important to keep in mind that if you post the bail yourself, the court might automatically apply that amount to your fines and costs if you’re convicted of the offense.

    If you’re unable to post the entire amount, you might be able to work with a bail bonding company. A bail bonding company can post bail for you. You typically pay them a smaller amount and then make interest payments. Your DUI attorney can help you secure a bail bondsman if you need this assistance.

    The hearing may also be your arraignment

    It’s common for the court to combine a bail hearing with an arraignment hearing. This is the part of the case where the court tells the person the exact charges that they’re facing. Usually, the court doesn’t dismiss the charges at the hearing except when there are obvious errors in the charging document. It’s important to follow up with your attorney after your arraignment to make sure that you get a copy of the complaint in writing along with filing paperwork to get copies of the state’s evidence against you.

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