In almost all criminal cases, whether they be misdemeanors or they'd be the more serious felony cases, if you've been charged with a crime or arrested, you will likely have been placed on bail.
So what is bail? Bail is a mechanism that ensures you will not commit a new crime and that you will appear in court. In order to assure the court that you will appear and comply with your bail conditions and not commit new crimes, there are a number of conditions the court will put in place. Some bail requires that you post cash. It may be a very modest sum in the amount of a few hundred dollars or in the case of a serious felony, it can be tens of thousands of dollars. It may require that you post a surety. Surety is real estate that can be attached and posted posted in lieu of cash. And in the event that you fail to comply with your bail, such as jumping bail or committing a new crime, that surety or real estate could be forfeit.
You will likely have conditions on your bail that you not commit any new crimes, perhaps that you refrain from possessing or using any alcohol. Certainly, you will not be allowed to possess any illegal drugs. You may be subject to random search, seizure and testing of your home, your person or your vehicle. You may be prohibited from owning or possessing any firearms or dangerous weapons. The term dangerous weapons is very comprehensive and broad and can mean anything from a hunting knife to a bow and arrow to a firearm.
When you're on bail conditions, it's really important that you pay attention to what those conditions are. Too often, I see folks that violate their bail conditions and come to me for help. What you can expect if you violate your conditions is as follows. It's Friday night. You decide you want to have a beer. You say, the heck with my bail conditions. The police happen to check you at home. They say have you been drinking because they can smell it on your breath. You say, yes. You are now placed under arrest. You will not be permitted to bail out on that new violation until you see a judge. That means you're spending the weekend in jail. If you posted cash in your previous bail, you may be subject to forfeiture of that cash. In addition, in order to bail out on the new charge of violating conditions of release, you will likely have to post additional cash. So it can get very expensive.
My suggestion to you is if you have any questions at all about your bail conditions, about how to comply with your bail conditions or what your bail conditions mean, give my office a call. I'm happy to sit down with you, discuss your bail conditions and if necessary, we can try and have those bail conditions modified. Often, bail conditions are set by a bail commissioner. And he will have every box checked off that allows the police to have unfettered discretion in searching you, your home or your vehicle to ensure that you're in compliance with the bail conditions. Let's sit down, take a look at your bail conditions and perhaps it might be appropriate that we submit a motion to modify your bail, get this in front of a judge and have some of those conditions stricken.
Again, any questions, feel free to call my office. I would love to be able to speak with you about your case. Thank you.