A bail hearing is your opportunity to ask the judge to lower your bail.
If you are arrested for DUI in California there’s a chance you will be held in jail until you pay bail. Bail is money you leave with the court as a guarantee you will return for your hearings and trial. Unfortunately, bail for DUI cases is generally very high—anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000 in Los Angeles. If bail is too high for you to pay, you can request a bail hearing and try to get it lowered.
A bail hearing is a short hearing before a judge. There are two ways you can have this hearing:
- You can file a motion requesting a bail hearing
- If bail was already set and you haven’t paid it within 5 days, you will automatically get a bail review hearing
The hearing is usually very casual compared to other court hearings. Not a lot of evidence is needed, and the final decision is up to the judge alone. But your lawyer can make a case on your behalf, and the prosecutor can argue against it.
You might ask for one of two outcomes in your bail hearing:
- To be released on your own recognizance (free to go without paying bail)
- To have the bail amount lowered to something more reasonable.
The prosecutor can do the opposite—they can ask the judge to raise the bail. It’s uncommon that a judge grants this, but it’s possible. This is why you should have a skilled DUI lawyer at your hearing.
How does the judge decide?
The bail hearing is not about whether you are innocent or guilty. It is only about one thing: whether it’s a good idea to let you go free until the trial. The main things the judge will consider are:
- Is it safe to let you free until the trial, or do you represent a threat to public safety?
- Is it likely that you will return for your court hearings and trial, if you are released?
To determine safety, the judge will consider the circumstances of your arrest as well as your past criminal record. If you have a lot of previous DUIs, and any of them have caused an injury, you might be considered a threat to public safety. In this case the judge may deny bail, especially if he or she believes you are addicted to alcohol or drugs.
Whether it is likely you will return depends on several factors:
- Have you ever escaped from a jail or prison?
- Have you ever violated parole or probation?
- Have you failed to appear at past court hearings or trials?
- Do you commonly travel overseas or have friends or family in a different country?
How can I win at my bail hearing?
The best way to win at your bail hearing is have a DUI lawyer handle the hearing for you. The most experienced DUI lawyers know the arguments that work most often in these hearings. For example:
- They may present new evidence showing that you are not a threat to public safety
- They might suggest you be allowed to go as long as you turn in your passport
- They may suggest installing an interlock device on your car, so you cannot drive drunk and hurt anyone
- They may suggest using a SCRAM device or house arrest, so you cannot flee the country.
Any of these arguments could get potentially get you out of jail, especially when made by an experienced lawyer.
Have you been charged with DUI? We can connect you with a knowledgeable Los Angeles DUI lawyer and get you a FREE consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call (310) 896-2724 and get your free consultation today.