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The Traffic Stop Arrest, Part 3 - Bail, Bonds And The Filing Of Charges

By Elizabeth Wittemyer

To review: you have been pulled over, you chose a safe place to pull over where you can leave your car, you maintained silence and politely refused to answer questions, you refused the voluntary roadside tests, including the PBT, you were given a chemical test during which you did not discuss your case and you asserted your right to silence during the entire investigation.

Each county has some variances in their local procedures, but in general after being processed, the jail deputies will inform you whether you have a right to post bail or if you must wait to see a judge to set a bond. For certain crimes, such as crimes where there is a victim or more serious crimes such as felonies, you will not be allowed to post bail and be released directly from the jail, rather you will have to see a judge first who will set a bond amount to be paid prior to being released. If you do not have to see a judge first, the jail will let you know the amount of bail that must be posted prior to making your telephone call. If they do not, ask prior to calling for help.

There is a schedule which determines what the bail amount is for certain crimes. If you do not have friends or family that can post your bail, you may want to consider using a bondsman. The jail will have a list of bondsman to call. This is a service for a fee charged by the bondsman, with the fee usually between 10% to 15% of the bail amount. The bondsman then pays the bail and you are released. When you go through court, it is a called a bond that must be paid prior to being released. The two terms, bail and bond, tend to get used interchangeably. Both are used to ensure your return to court. When you pay the bail with the jail or the bond with the court, you are given a return date to come back to court. If you do not show up in court on the date cited, you risk forfeiting the bail/bond that was posted and having additional charges filed against you.

Beyond payment, bail/bond conditions are also usually attached. These are rules you must follow as part of being released from jail on bail/bond. It is very important to read the paperwork given to you. Your driver’s license may have been taken, with a temporary one being given as part of the paperwork and an advisement of your legal rights regarding your driving privileges. Read this carefully and trigger the system to protect your rights, asking for a hearing through the Department of Revenue in the short time period allowed. If there are other conditions to your bail or bond, such as no drinking or a Restraining Order, follow them or risk additional penalties, many times mandatory jail sentences. Contact an attorney or have your family and friends do so immediately. The sooner we can start to work on your defense, the better we can protect you.

The investigating officer will issue you a Summons and Complaint citation with a return court date and will send the investigation to the District Attorney’s office to file a formal Complaint based on their review. The District Attorney will have the opportunity to review the investigation conducted by the officer and decide to amend, dismiss or add charges as they review the evidence against you. The Complaint will list the charges against you based on the statute they claim you have violated and can generally be amended up until trial. Your defense team, which should include experienced investigators, will obtain a copy of the investigation against you in a process called discovery, conduct a thorough analysis of the facts and law in your defense and aggressively protect you every step of the way. Call our experienced Criminal Defense Team at 1-(888) 458-0991 for a free consultation today!

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