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Napa DUI Lawyer | DUI Attorney - Thurlow & Thurlow

DUI Bail


I would like to share with you a recent success we had in a DUI bail situation for one of our clients.

First, remember the issue of bail normally comes up at the very beginning of a case.  The case could go to trial, be dismissed, or take months to work its way through the system after the bail situation is addressed. 

And bail is not always handled the same for every case.  Once a DUI bail amount is set by the judge, bail is met in one of three ways: handing over the entire amount of bail in cash, which is called “cash bail.”  When the case concludes, the person who handed over the cash gets the entire cash amount back, less some minor fees. 

A second way to post bail is to post what is known as a property bond.  In a property bond situation, someone owns equity in a piece of property that is two or more times the amount required for DUI bail, and a lien is placed on the property.  The judge must approve the deed, the title history, a list of current lien holders, mortgage statements and a professional appraisal of the property.  It’s pretty complicated, and can take several days.

The third and most common way to post bail is by paying for a DUI bail bond with a bail bondsman.  The premium for the bail bond is usually 10% of the bail bond, and we are able to refer our clients to some bondsmen who charge only 8% of the bail bond.  The unattractive part of a bail bond is that the bond premium, whether it is 10% or 8%, is not returned when the case is over.  The bail bondsman gets to keep the premium.

Anyway, in our recent case, the judge set bail at $20,000, and we referred our client to a bondsman who charged only 8% for the bond premium.  So far, so good.  In this situation, the defendant usually meets the bondsman and me at court, where the defendant is remanded into custody, and the bondsman then posts the bond with the jail.  12 to 20 hours later, the defendant is set loose from the jail.  “Out on bail,” as it were.

The amount of time our client sits in jail before getting loose has never sat well with me.  So in this case, I asked the bondsman if there were a better way to do it.  A way that would save our client from having to sit in jail up to 20 hours after the bond was posted before actually getting out on bail.

After some checking, the bondsman suggested our client turn himself in at a small, local police department that hardly has any inmates to handle.  Theoretically, if the police department was not busy with other inmates, our client could be booked and released in less than an hour.

So that is what we did.  Our client paid the bondsman the 8% premium, or $1,600, and turned himself in at the police department of a small city.  As our client walked into the police department, the bondsman posted the bond at the front desk.  Our client had to be photographed and fingerprinted, but he then walked out of the police department less than twenty minutes after he turned himself in!

Note that this is not the ultimate outcome of the case, and in the case of this client, he may eventually serve some more jail time.  The charges our client faces include some allegations that will probably add to his time in jail, but I have already talked with the DA, who hinted that he may not object to a jail alternative program, which would allow our client to get jail credit for community service.  So who knows – that battle is in the future.

But this case is off to a good start, and I was happy to save our client from having to serve up to 20 hours in jail before being released on DUI bail.

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