This is a good question because there’s not a real perfect exact answer. Typically, what you should do if you’re a family member or even the person who is in custody and you’re trying to figure out when you’re going to get into court, you have to get an attorney and give them all the information – where you’re being held, what the charges are, what the bail is, when you were arrested – because all these things factor in.
Typically, in Los Angeles County when you’re arrested, if you don’t bail out you will be in court within seventy-two hours. However, if you get arrested on a holiday or a long weekend, that time can be extended. I’ve seen it take as much as five days because somebody was arrested near a holiday. So, they have to get you in court obviously, within a reasonable amount of time, and apparently the judiciary and the legislature has determined that that is within seventy-two hours in Los Angeles County. That’s pretty much the hard and fast rule when somebody gets arrested in LA and they’re trying to figure out when they’re going to go into court.
The exact time is never clear. Let’s say they arrest you on a Friday in Van Nuys court and you’re being held in Van Nuys jail and then you’re going to have to appear in court, you would think – being held in Van Nuys jail which is a stone-throw away from the Van Nuys court – you’d be in there on Monday. But a lot of times for various procedural reasons, you can end up going there on Tuesday. Another weird thing that I’ve seen happen with that example is instead of just taking you right from the Van Nuys jail into the courthouse, which makes sense to most people, including me, they take you downtown to the IRC which is the Inmate Reception Center. They process you through there and then they bus you back to Van Nuys for your court appearance. So, sometimes that can be the reason that you don’t go to court right away, instead an extra day or two lags by.
If you post bail on the case then what happens is they typically give you a court date within thirty days of your arrest. So, you get released fairly quickly, usually within a few hours of the bail being posted depending on what’s going on with the sheriff or Los Angeles police departments. Sometimes their computers are down and that can delay somebody being released even after they have hired a bond company to post a bond. They’re not going to let you out of custody until you verify if you have any warrants. If their computer system is down, which happens all the time that can delay the process of checking for warrants, and therefore, delay you being released.
The only downfall of posting a bail on a case is that gives the police and/or prosecutors an additional thirty days to investigate your case and get the case and paperwork together. Whereas, if you post bond right away, you get into court within seventy-two hours, that forces the police to have the evidence necessary to hold you. If the prosecutors don’t think they do, a lot of times they won’t file the case. They’ll reject it. Sometimes they reject it outright. Other times, if they see that the police can do an investigation and possibly get the evidence they need following your arrest in Los Angeles County, they can reject the case for now, but set it a couple of weeks away to give the police enough time to investigate it so they can make the final official determination whether or not they’re actually going to file charges against you in a criminal case.
So, if you get arrested or your family member gets arrested in Los Angeles and you are trying to figure out when and where you’re going to go to court, how much the bail is going to be and all those important things, your first stop should be an attorney. Not necessarily a bail bondsman. A bail bondsman can get that information, but the attorney is going to help you all the way around. Sometimes your bond could be set at a certain amount and your attorney can get the bond lowered which will save you money with the bail bondsman, or even get you released on your own recognizance, which will cost you nothing. If you have no job and it’s not a violent crime, you definitely have a fighting chance of getting out with your attorney going into court and asking the judge to give you an OR release.
Whereas, if you post bail on the case first and just deal with the bail bondsman first, even if the attorney can get you an OR release and get your bail reduced, the bond company is still going to keep their money or their premium. That money is lost forever. So, always coordinate first with an attorney once the arrest occurs and see what they say about how fast a person is going to get into court, what the bail will likely end up being and what the best strategy is moving forward following an arrest in Los Angeles County.
Categorised in: Criminal Defense