Nov 13

What Literature and Legal Resources Tells Us About Fugitive Arrests

defense-attorneyWhen a person skips out on their bail, technically, they become fugitives, or individuals that flee one jurisdiction in order to evade arrest and detention. Bail fugitives are those individuals that would have been in jail had they not been released out on bail, and who now also flee the court’s jurisdiction in order to evade re-arrest.

When people skip bail, they usually remove themselves from the immediate jurisdiction of the courts hearing their case. So they head out of town, leave the state, of sometimes even leave the country. Law enforcement agents are usually alerted as to the identity of skips, and should they discover the location of the bail fugitives, have the authority to place that person under arrest before transporting them back to the jurisdiction where their case is being tried.

Bounty hunters, or fugitive recovery agents, are those tasked by bail bondsmen to bring back fugitives that have skipped out on bail for which they have acted as surety. And even though they may be private citizens, they can apprehend bail fugitives and bring them back to the court’s jurisdiction.

The extent to which a bounty hunter has authority to act depends on which state they’re in. There are some states which restrict or regulate the practice of bounty hunting, but unless they are expressly considered illegal in a certain jurisdiction, where the law is silent as to the practice of bounty hunting, a bounty hunter can pretty much act within the law when they arrest a fugitive.

There are certain instances when even private citizens can conduct a legal and valid arrest. Perhaps the main difference is that for bounty hunters, they act not to prevent a crime from transpiring or being consummated (as for private citizen arrests), but because it is what they have been hired to do, and what they will be paid for.

Police officers are expected to adhere to certain procedures before conducting an arrest, including the reading of Miranda rights to the arrestee. Bounty hunters are not expected to adhere to these requirements. They are, however, when applicable, expected to adhere to certain state laws that regulate the practice of bounty hunting. For instance, some states require them to carry on their persons at all times paperwork bearing out their qualifications to be a bail hunter and the particulars of the bail bondsman that hired them to apprehend a specific fugitive. Still, in other states, bounty hunters are not allowed to make arrests at all, but are expected to inform local police authorities who will then conduct the arrest of the fugitive themselves.

In general, for a bounty hunter to do their job, they can enter the residence of a fugitive as long as they are aware that the residence belongs to the fugitive and that the fugitive is currently living in that house. They can use a reasonable amount of force to make the arrest, which should not be excessive. If they use excessive force, or if they trespass on the property of third persons, bounty hunters can be held liable themselves.

Nov 11

Literature and Legal References Governing Bail Bonds

lady justiceIt is always a good idea, should you be involved in a legal proceeding, to do your own research. Of course, having competent legal assistance is best, but sometimes, there are just some things that can escape your understanding even when a lawyer explains them to you. Everyone is always encouraged to learn more about the laws, particularly since it has been touted numerous times that ignorance of the law does not excuse anyone. But where do you look to learn more about bail, the bail process, and bail bonds?

In the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution, it has been stated that “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” So, where an offense is considered bailable, the bail that is set should not be so excessive as to be impossible. United States v. Salerno in 1987 (481 U.S. 739) explains this as being not “excessive in light of the perceived evil.” And even earlier than that, bail would be considered excessive if it was “higher than reasonably calculated to ensure the defendant’s appearance at trial.” (Stack v. Boylee, 342 U.S. 1, 1951) But in a more direct statement on what constitutes “excessive,” the Supreme Court stated in 1909 that what is excessive are those who are “so grossly excessive as to amount to a deprivation of property without due process of law.” (Waters-Pierce Oil Co. v. Texas, 212 U.S. 86, 1909).

These days, the governing federal law on bail is the Bail Reform Act of 1984, which overrode the previous Bail Reform Act of 1966. One of the major changes imposed by the new act is that where before, pre-trial detention and bail was determined by a defendant’s risk of flight. In the 1984 Act, pre-trial detention could be ordered based upon the danger that defendant will pose to the community. In addition, the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act applies to govern the transfer of fugitives from one state to another, for the purpose of surrendering him back to judicial authorities.

constitutionAside from this general guidance provided by federal law and the U.S. Constitution, the particulars of bail, bail bonds, and even the legality of bounty hunting is largely determined by the laws of each state. There are at least four states that have abolished for-profit bail bonds completely, and these are Illinois, Kentucky, Oregon and Wisconsin. In addition to these four states, Maine and Nebraska have prohibited surety bail bonds since 2012.

Other states have not prohibited the practice of commercial bail bonds, but have opted instead to regulate the practice. There are published bail schedules which are supposed to guide judges in the imposition of bail amounts. Some states require bail bondsmen to be licensed before they can legally operate their business, and the license requires adherence to requirements and guidelines including the completion of required training and courses, and insurance coverage. The same kind of varying regulation applies to bounty hunters, where the practice is disallowed in some states and regulated in others.

More recently, there has been debate regarding the advantages and disadvantages of the commercial bail bond practice, as well as bounty hunting. And yet conversely, proponents for commercial bail bond practices have also argued for the ultimate benefit of the industry to criminal defendants, for whom release from pre-trial detention has resulted in better chances of participating more effectively during their trial.

Nov 09

The Law on Bail and Bail Bonds Based on Literature and Resources

A person arrested is usually entitled to a bond, the amount of which will be based on a bond schedule that serves as a general guide to courts for the imposition of bail amounts. Being just a guide, the court has the discretion to increase this amount based on variables such as whether or not the defendant is a flight risk, whether or not defendant may be a danger to the community or the perceived impact of the crime committed. If your lawyer wishes to argue on your behalf to lower the amount of your bond, this is usually done during a bail hearing, which usually takes place within 24 hours after your arrest.

Certain presumptions do prevail. Courts favor the release of a defendant from jail before trial for the defendant to prepare for the court, and to find comfort in the presence and support of their family. If, however, you are charged with a non-bailable offense, or you feel that the bail amount that was set by the court is too excessive, your lawyer could make arguments on your behalf during the bail hearing to lower the amount of your bail, or to allow bail based on your personal standing and personal circumstances.

Even with the constitutional prohibition against excessive bail, however, the amount of bail that is set is designed to be prohibitive enough that the defendant will think twice about skipping out on their bail and losing what money or collateral they have put up to secure his release. In most cases, however, the defendant is not able to afford paying his bail at all. But because it is still in his interest to secure his release pending trial, the one recourse the defendant can have is to seek the services of a bail bondsman or a bail agent.

For a set amount, which is usually ten percent of the total bail amount, a defendant can get the services of a bail bondsman, who will post bail on his behalf, after defendant has given sufficient collateral or security to answer for the amount of the bail should defendant not show up during his court dates, in most cases one can get pretty affordable bail bonds in San Diego California.

A bail bondsman will usually put up a surety bond with the court, and if deemed acceptable, a bail ticket is issued by the court to the police, who will then release the defendant from jail. Sometimes, it can happen that the defendant’s appearance in court for his scheduled hearings is made impossible for certain reasons, such as his detention in another jurisdiction for another offense, or if the defendant should pass away in the meantime. If none of these reasons are true, however, and defendant does not appear in court for his scheduled hearing, a court may issue a warrant of arrest for the defendant. The bond itself will be forfeited, but the bail bondsman will have recourse against the property you have put up for collateral, or any surety given by any of your family or friends to secure your release. The bail bondsman, in addition, will have the right to seek your apprehension and return to the court’s jurisdiction, to which end he can hire the services of a bounty hunter.

Nov 05

The Financial Side of Surety Bonds and Bail

dollarsBrought down to the most basic essentials, the concept of bail is simple. If you are in custody awaiting the date of your trial, the court will allow you temporary freedom on the condition of your return when the trial starts. But because there is an assumption that defendants will not voluntarily return to face a criminal trial where they could be found guilty and be sentenced to life, courts need to assure themselves that a defendant, when released, will still return for his court hearings. And they do this by requiring a financial bond.

The practice started in medieval England, when a relative or friend of a defendant acted as a guarantor, using both his economic status and personal honor as an assurance that the defendant will not flee. As guarantor, he is expected to put up money as a pledge for the reappearance of the defendant on the dates of his trial.

justiceThis practice has been carried over to today, but modern realities also add additional reasons for the importance of bail bonds, surety bonds, and bail bond agents.

For one thing, not everybody has a relative or family member with the financial capacity to pledge the amount of bail required by the court. That means that even if the courts grant bail to the accused, he cannot be released on bail because he and his family cannot afford it. And secondly, jail congestion is a reality in many state and local penitentiaries. Many state legislatures advocate for jail decongestion, and one of the ways by which this can be done is by granting defendants temporary release out on bail. But if a defendant does not have the financial capacity to make good on his bail amount, bail bondsmen and bail bond agents step in to provide the same kind of surety or guaranty that was once provided to defendants by their wealthy and respectable family members.

In a very real way, the Torrance bail bonds industry is geared towards providing those who cannot afford to do so the financial capacity to make their bail. To a certain extent, then, bail bond agents help to level the playing field for the rich and the not-so-rich as they navigate their way through the criminal justice system. And it certainly doesn’t hurt the state that there are fewer detainees in jails for whose upkeep and maintenance the state has to answer for.

studyOn the flip side of the fence, however, the bail bond industry has also proven to be a financially lucrative business for many bail bond agencies and companies. Despite the inherent risk that seems almost obvious in entering into the bail bond profession, the risk is not as great as the financial return of acting as a bail bond agent. First, there is the non-refundable fee that the defendant has to pay the bail bondsman to secure his services, which is generally 10 percent of the total bail amount. And bail bond agencies aren’t necessarily required to put up the full amount of bail for each and every defendant for whom they act as surety. Bail agents usually put up a blanket bond that is acceptable to all the local courts. And if the defendants do show up for their hearing, neither the defendant nor the bail bondsman would need to shell out any more additional money.

Nov 02

How a Bail Bondsman Can Assist you through the Legal Process

courtroomBeing a defendant in the criminal justice system can be a traumatic and distressing experience for anybody. No matter how you balance things, all the powers of the state machinery going after the accused in a criminal case puts the accused at a very great disadvantage. And this is true no matter how many possible advantages a defendant has.

Aside from the legal services of your lawyer, you can also make good use of the legal and practical resource that your bail bondsman can offer you. Many times, defendants who are experiencing a criminal trial for the first time will find it hard to think clearly about any decision he or she needs to make as he is processed by the criminal justice system, including the financial and legal decisions involved during the bail process. What would be simple or common legal or financial matters can become complex and stressful things to consider.

jailFor instance, a defendant going through the bail process for the first time might find it difficult to navigate the complexities of securing his or her liberty. A bail bondsman can assist the defendant if he or she does not have the money for his bail, thus enabling the defendant to be freed from jail, albeit temporarily, and have a better chance of preparing for his or her trial. The help and assistance of the bail bondsman is not just financial, either.

The Evansville bail bondsman has the legal knowledge and practical experience of how to navigate the system in order to secure the defendant’s release at the soonest possible time. This might entail certain legal requirements and legal conditions which may be difficult for a lay person to understand, especially if it is only the defendant’s first offense. The legal system can be confusing and troubling to anybody not well-versed in its intricacies, so it is always a good idea to have the help and resources of personalities with relevant experience like a criminal lawyer and a bail bondsman. With their help, they can simplify and help you understand the legal process which you are going through.

binding contractWhat makes this process of bail so important is because pre-trial detention can have a significant impact on the criminal proceeding itself, and on the welfare of the defendant. When an accused cannot afford to pay for his or her bail, he has no choice but to stay in jail until his trial is resolved. And while theoretically, all defendants are tried by an impartial and objective court, reality seems to lead to the opposite conclusion. Studies have shown that those who were detained prior to and during the course of the trial were more likely to be sentenced to prison, receiving sentences that were longer than average.

In addition, defendants who could not afford to pay for their bail were more likely to agree to plea deals and to plead guilty to a lesser offense, all in the interest of getting out of jail, regardless of whether they were actually guilty or not. To any judge, admitting to guilt means that the defendant has admitted to guilt and liability, but to the defendant, the prospect of going free carries a bigger weight than what goes on their record. The help of a bail bondsman can prevent defendants from making decisions based on a purely superficial grasp of the law.