IHow does COVID-19 change bail?
On April 6th, 2020, a new Order was issued for the State of California in response to the COVID-19 pandemic we are currently dealing with. In essence, part of the Order worked to help to avoid overcrowding in jails and avoid the danger of incarcerated people possibly contracting the deadly virus. This new Order essentially reduced bail for many people facing misdemeanor and low level offenses. This would mean that if you or a loved one have a case pending with a high bail, you may be entitled to have the bail lowered if you’ve been to Court, or to get someone else out of custody who was recently arrested.
IIHow does the Emergency Bail Schedule work?
The new bail schedule has listed every misdemeanor and felony case will be set to $0 bail. This would mean, that people will be released without having to post a bail bond, to lessen the amount of people in custody and the potential spread of the virus. The logic behind this new rule is that people in confined cells are at a higher risk of contracting the virus without the ability for proper social distancing. There have been numerous reports of inmates as well as deputies who have not only contracted the disease, but also who have died from COVID-19.
However, there are several exceptions for when the bail will not be set to $0 bail that are listed here: I have listed the charges that do not apply to this new Order below:
- A serious felony under PC 1192.7(c) or a Violent Felony under PC 667.5(c);
- A felony violation under PC 69;
- A violation under PC 166(C)(1);
- A violation under PC 136.1(c);
- A violation under PC 262;
- A violation under PC 243(e)(1) or PC 273.5(a);
- A violation under PC 273.6(a) if threats were made to the restraining party;
- A felony violation under PC 422;
- A violation under PC 646.9;
- Any offense listed under PC 290(c);
- A violation under VC 23152 or VC 23153;
- A felony violation under PC 463; and
- A violation under PC 29800
IIIWill this apply to me or my loved one?
If your charges fall under one of the sections above, then you would not be entitled to a $0 bail, but you may still have your bail lowered, depending on the county of where your case is heard. Many cases that are excluded above are still eligible for a reduction in their bail. However, this would not apply to certain offenses that are considered more serious. For example, if you are charged with Attempted murder under PC 664/187, you would not be entitled to bail, as it falls under the exceptions above under 1. You also likely will not have your bail reduced, since your charges are extreme, and can lead to a possible life sentence. In essence, this new Order allows certain people to not have to post a bond, or to reduce the bond they are required to pay, but it does not apply to every single case and every person.
Another example is if a person is charged with a serious sex crime, such as a violation under PC 288(a). There, a person would not have their bail reduced to a $0 bail, and it would be unlikely it would be reduced significantly. In some of these cases, if the bail is high, somewhere around 1 million or more dollars, if anything, a Judge may reduce it slightly, maybe even in half, but if a family cannot afford bail for half of that amount, then this change in the law likely does not affect them.
But for the vast majority of people, this new change will affect their cases, and it is important to seek out a Criminal Defense Attorney that can advise them of these changes, how they can affect their loved one’s cases, and how quickly they can try to get them out of jail.
IVHow long will this last?
The new Order for bail will last for up to 90 days after the Governor of California declares that the State of Emergency we are now in is over with. This means, that there is a very low chance if your Attorney is bail to secure a reduced or $0 bail for you, that you would ever need to waste money on bail, and can instead focus on your defense in your case.
This new Order has changed Bail in California, and it’s possible it can help you or your loved one get out of Jail faster, to avoid the disastrous affect of them catching COVID-19. It also makes it easier for a person released to work on their defense in their case, and be with loved ones while everyone is sheltering in place. It is important to know how this new Order can help you or your loved ones case out, and at Inland Empire Criminal Defense, we have already begun successfully reducing the bail of clients in custody based on these Orders, reuniting loved ones, and allowing the peace and assurance that even if you are charged with a crime, you can at least be home and safe until this passes. Call your local Ontario Criminal Defense Attorney today at the Inland Empire Defense 909-939-7126. Located in Ontario.