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What Happens at a Los Angeles DUI Bail Hearing?

Oftentimes, when you have been charged with driving under the influence, you may be held in custody until the completion of your criminal case. Anytime you are stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence, you will be taken into custody. However, you will be released after a few hours, when officers believe that you are no longer intoxicated.
In some cases, they will detain you until your first criminal court appearance. At that first appearance, referred to as a bail hearing, the Judge will make a decision as to what your bail will be, if any, or if you will be released on your own recognizance (OR). There are only certain situations in which you mustsappear at a bail hearing before you can be released. If you have prior DUI’s, the Judge may require it, if you have previous failure to appears, or if the facts of your case amount to a felony charge.

At a bail hearing, the Judge is interested in two key points: 1) Are you a risk to society, and 2) are you a flight risk.

You would be a risk to society if the Judge believes you would be found driving while intoxicated again. If he believes, based on the facts and prior history, that you are likely to commit another offense that could lead to harm or injury on another, he will likely ask that you remain detained so that you do not cause harm or injury to another.

If a Judge believes that you are a flight risk and will not appear before him through the conclusion of your case, he will decide that you are a flight risk. If you have previous failures to appear, if you have very few ties to the community, then the Judge may arrive at that conclusion. To prove that you are not a flight risk, an experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney may show the court that you have had a stable, consistent job. That you have family and friends in the area, and are active in your community. Enough to demonstrate that you have too many relationships and obligations in the community that you would not leave them to avoid criminal prosecution.

Let’s consider an example. Daniel has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. He has had two prior DUI’s within the last five years. During the proceedings of his DUI case, Daniel failed to appear at one of the hearings, but appeared on the rest. Daniel has been working at a computer company but has recently been let go. His mother lives in Colorado and his sister lives in Texas. Other than a few friends, Daniel has no real family in California. He rents his apartment and does not own any other property in the area.

In this example, the Judge is likely to set a high bail for Daniel, as he not only seems like he would be a risk to society, but also a flight risk. He has gotten two DUIs within the last five years. He has no family in the area, does not have a job and does not own any property or have any other obligations in California. There is nothing preventing him from taking off to Colorado or Texas. In this situation, it is likely that the Court will issue a bail and will not release Daniel.

If you feel that you might be kept in custody pending a Los Angeles DUI case, consult with a DUI professional as soon as possible. They can help ensure you give the Judge the best argument possible so that you can avoid being held in custody.