We are often asked if a defendant's bail can be raised after a preliminary hearing in a criminal case in Los Angeles County? Many people are concerned about going into custody, and they don't realize that someone's bail can be raised after a preliminary hearing in a California criminal case.
That is because the prosecutors have the option to claim there's now a change in circumstances after the preliminary hearing after the person is held to answer for the crimes they are charged with, which makes it more likely that they are going to be convicted of those crimes.
Also, I see this happening a lot if they're held to answer for more serious charges than they posted the bail for. That would justify the bail being raised.
Sometimes that's not seen until after the preliminary hearing when the person arrives in the trial court for arraignment. All of a sudden, there are new charges and new recommended bail.
The prosecutor argues that the person should be taken into custody because there's now a change in circumstances. They're facing more jail or prison time, and their circumstances have gotten more serious, thus, justifying the higher bail.
What they'll typically do is the judge will look at the charges and, based on those charges, will set a bail that has been predetermined by other judges for every single charge in LA county. Our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers will cover this subject in more detail below.
What is Bail?
Bail is the amount of money ordered by the judge for you to pay for release from custody. The primary purpose of bail is to ensure you appear at your scheduled court appearances. Typically, bail is posted through a bail bondsman who will agree to post your bail in exchange for a maximum of 10% of the total bail amount.
If your case is dropped by the prosecutor, known as a “DA reject,” the 10% charge is NOT REFUNDABLE. You should consider the amount you paid as the price of freedom. Simply put, the fee you pay the bail company is for posting bail on your behalf. The standard bail fee is 10%, but some defendants could qualify for an 8% premium.
There is also the option of paying the entire bail amount in cash. If bail is exonerated at the end of the case, you will get a check for the whole amount posted in about 8-10 weeks.
Under California Penal Code Section 1275, the prosecutor can place you on a “1275 hold.” You will not get released until the court lifts the hold.
To get the 1275 hold lifted, the judge must be satisfied that the funds used to post your bond are not connected with the criminal conduct you were arrested for.
Bail and Own Recognizance Release in California
After you are arrested by law enforcement, you will typically have the opportunity to get released on bail while your case is pending in court. The California Constitution protects the right to reasonable bail. At the arraignment, you could be released on your own recognizance (O.R), which means a release from custody without posting any bail.
If the court sets a bail amount, your family could post bail, typically through a bail bond agent, to get you released from custody as quickly as possible. Bail is the financial assurance you will return to court after being released.
To determine the bail amount, judges use a county "bail schedule" for each crime. The more serious offenses will result in a higher bail amount. When judges are deciding on a bail amount, they consider a wide range of factors, such as:
- the bail schedule for the crime charged,
- defendant's prior criminal history,
- If the defendant ever failed to appear in court,
- potential flight risk,
- whether the defendant is a danger to society.
The primary factors in setting bail are the issues of flight risk and whether you pose a danger to the community. To decide the flight risk question, the judge will review whether a defendant has family, children, or property in California that he doesn't want to leave behind.
The judge will also review your crime and circumstances to determine the chances that you might commit additional crimes if released on bail. They need to decide whether or not you are a danger to the public due to your alleged offense.
After a judge sets bail, that amount will be the bail throughout your criminal case process case unless the attorney can show something has significantly changed since the initial bail amount was set. For example, perhaps the prosecutor decided to drop some of the criminal charges in your case, resulting in the judge's high bail amount.
Why Do You Need a Criminal Defense Lawyer?
So, if you or a loved one has a criminal case and you're worried about bail, especially after a preliminary hearing, you want a superior criminal defense attorney on your side because they can argue against your bail being raised.
You want somebody who's prepared, knows what they're doing, and knows the correct arguments that might make a difference to an LA superior court judge when the prosecutors try to raise that bail after the preliminary hearing.
Sometimes it's being raised immediately after the preliminary hearing where they try to take the defendant into custody. Other times, it's presented at the next court appearance after the preliminary hearing, which would be the arraignment in a trial court. Once they file new charges, they can then mount the argument that circumstances have changed.
Maybe this particular defendant posted $100,000.00 bail, for example. Still, now, the charges they are charged with require a million-dollar bail, so we want the defendant to either post the bail or be remanded into custody.
The key is having someone like me who's been doing this now for 30 years, who's worked for the DA's off and superior court judge and defended people just like you since the early 1990s, being prepared to block arguments like this and to make the right moves for you so that nothing takes you by surprise.
If you need the best, you have a criminal case, you're concerned – pick up the phone now and ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. The Hedding Law Firm is located in Los Angeles County, and we offer a free case review by phone, or you can fill out the contact form.