Arrest, booking and bail

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Marijuana-related offenses, in California, all subject the accused to the criminal court process. The first stages in this process include arrest, booking and bail. In order to ensure that one’s case isn’t blindly processed through the system, it is vital for the accused to hire a California criminal attorney who specializes in marijuana cases and who knows exactly how to successfully navigate his or her client through these stages.

The arrest officially takes place when the suspect is taken into police custody and no longer has the option to leave or freely move about. An officer is legally entitled to make an arrest if he or she personally observes the suspect commit a crime (for example, he or she sees marijuana plants growing on a property or sees an individual smoking marijuana), if he or she has “probable cause” to arrest the suspect (that is, a reasonable belief that the person either committed or is about to commit a crime, based on a tip which is then corroborated by the officer’s observations, such as a pending sale or information that manufacturing is taking place in a certain location) or if he or she has a warrant, issued by the court.

Booking follows the arrest. Booking is the process by which an individual is formally entered into the criminal court system. During this process, the suspect’s personal information is collected, any personal property is confiscated (which will be returned upon the individual’s release, assuming it isn’t illegally possessed), the officer records information about the alleged offense, performs a search for prior offenses and then fingerprints and photographs the accused. Depending on the particular offense committed, the accused may be given a written citation, so long as he or she promises to appear in court (for minor offenses, such as possession of less than one ounce of marijuana) or will be placed in a “holding cell” or a local jail for more serious offenses.

Bail is the money that one “posts” in order to be released from police custody following the booking process. Those accused of drug charges are typically permitted to either “bail out” or obtain a free release on their own recognizance (also known as an O.R. release). When determining whether one’s bail should be raised or lowered from that listed in the bail schedule or whether one should be released OR, the judge considers the severity of the offense (whether any aggravating factors were present), the accused individual’s criminal history, his or her ties to the community and public safety. When reviewing these issues, the judge assumes that the accused is guilty of the offense, which is another reason why it is so important to be represented by qualified counsel during every stage involved in criminal proceedings who knows how to make sure that his or her clients receive the most favorable results at all times.

If one must post bail, he or she has the option of posting cash bail, which means that he or she must pay the full amount that the court has ordered (which will be refunded once the case is over if the accused attended all of his or her court appearances), or has the option of posting a bail bond. Bail bonds are contracts with bail agents or “bondsmen” whereby they agree to pay the full bail in exchange for ten-percent of the total amount (which is non-refundable). Bail agents also typically require collateral as further security that the individual will make all of his or her court appearances so that the bond will be returned at the end of the case. Under either scenario, if the accused fails to appear, the bail is forfeited to the court.

The outstanding California criminal defense lawyers at The Kavinoky Law Firm excel in successfully representing their clients who were accused of marijuana-related charges during these and all phases of the court process. To learn more about how these exceptional attorneys can help, contact them today for a free consultation.