When a person is arrested, the first thing they generally want to know is if they can get out of jai. In many cases the answer is yes.
In federal court, the bail process is very different than state court. Rarely, are bail bondsmen used. When setting bail, the court has to consider whether the accused is a “flight risk,” namely whether there is a chance they will flee and not come to court. Ties to the United States are very important here. If the defendant is only a resident of the United States and not a U.S. citizen and if the accused's family is all in Mexico, it will be harder for the court to approve bail.
In a serious case, the prosecutor has the right to move for a detention hearing and request that bail not be set. This is a subject for a future blog. The good news is in many cases, the individual does not have to post more than a couple of thousand dollars, and this money will be returned at the end of the case, regardless of guilt or innocence.
The typical bail in a “border bust” drug case at the United States-Mexico border (methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, or fentanyl) is between $15,000 and $30,000. The person posting bail does not have to post all of this money–only 10% of it if the judge so requires. The court will usually ask for one or two persons, often related adults, to sign on the promissory note. If the accused fails to come to court or uses drugs, the prosecutor can move to hold that person responsible for the amount of the bond.
If your loved one has been arrested, you can take some steps right now to prepare for a bail hearing. Find two adults who are preferably United States citizens, or permanent records, who have a good job and no criminal record. Scan two forms of identification for them (picture identification) and also two recent pay stubs or proof that the person has a net worth in the bond amount or more.
The bail procedure is the same in the federal courthouses in El Centro (cases from Mexicali-Calexico) and San Diego, (cases from Tijuana-San Diego, Otay Mesa, and Tecate.)
The bail process usually takes a few days: one day for the government to check the background of the person signing on the bond (the surety), the posting of any monetary bond, and approval by the judge. Most experienced federal criminal attorneys, the best ones, have substantial experience preparing bail packages. At the Law Offices of Russell Babcock, we have a great deal of experience in securing bail and finding creative solutions for bail when it appears there is no way that the accused will be unable to post bail.
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