This guide explains the current state of bail in California and how it will change once Senate Bill 10 goes into effect on October 1, 2019.
The Current State of DUI Bail in California
The California Legislature recently passed Senate Bill 10 which will completely change the bail system in California beginning October 1, 2019. Currently, most people are familiar with the concept that if you are arrested for a crime, you must pay a *bail* to get out of jail. Let*s break down how this worked prior to 2019, and how it will change after that.
Prior to October 2019, if you were arrested for a crime, law enforcement had three options:
1. Release you on your *Own Recognizance* with no bail;
2. Set a bail amount, and if you post it, release you;
3. Set no bail and keep you in jail until your first court hearing.
If law enforcement set bail, you then had three options on how to pay it, (called *posting bail*):
1. Pay the entire amount of the bail yourself;
2. Post a *Property Bond* if you own real estate;
3. Pay a Bail Bondsman 10% of the total bail to post a bond for you.
Is every county the same?
No. In fact every county is different. To give you an overview of the current state of affairs of bail in our local counties, you have El Dorado which requires bail in every DUI; Placer which requires alcohol conditions as part of bail; and Sacramento, were bail is often set very low or not at all. In El Dorado and Placer Counties, it is not unusual to see bail set at $5,000. However, in Sacramento, we often find bail set at $1,500.
Do You Get Your Bail Back?
It depends. If you choose option one or two (paying the entire bond yourself or posting your property) you will be guaranteed return of your bail if you appear at all your court dates and if convicted, properly turn yourself in to the authorities.
If you choose option three, the Bail Bondsman will post the entire amount of bail and charge you 10%. You do not get that 10% back. Furthermore, if you run, it is his job to chase you down and bring you back to court.
To put this into perspective: If your bail was $5,000, you could either:
1. Pay the court $5,000 and get it back when the case is over, and you do not run
2. Post a Property Bond for $5,000 and get it back when the case is over, and you do not run
3. Pay a bail bondsman $500 to post the bond for you and you do not get any money back
DUI Bail after October 2019
After October 2019 this bail system completely, changes. There is no more *monetary bail*. Under the new laws codified under Penal Code section 1320.7 and beyond, the Court and Pretrial Services Division must make a determination whether to detain you, or release you on your own recognizance with the least restrictive conditions available.
In fact, after October 2019 no money bail can be charged for a misdemeanor DUI unless you are arrested for a third offense within the past 10 years of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or any combination thereof, caused injury to another, or for driving with a blood alcohol level of .20 or above.
What does being *Released On My Own Recognizance Mean?
Being *OR*d* means that law enforcement has let you return to society as long as you sign a *promise to appear* for your next court date. Therefore, when an OR is ordered, you sign a document that says you promise to appear in court at the designated date, location and time.
Do I have to go to Court?
You usually do not need to go to court for any misdemeanor DUI charge. If you injured someone or are charged with a repeat DUI, you may have to attend in person. Otherwise, your attorney can appear on your behalf and in your place. If neither you nor an attorney show up to court on the date promised, the Judge will issue a warrant for your immediate arrest.
What if they keep me in jail?
Under most circumstances, law enforcement must bring you to court within 72 hours of charging you with a crime. It is a clear violation of the law if they fail to do so and may be grounds for a civil lawsuit against the agency. If this happens, it means your case is being taken as highly serious by the prosecution and you should do everything in your power to retain counsel prior to your first hearing so you are not surprised or caught off guard in the courtroom.
 California Penal Code * 1320.10(e)(5)
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