The United States Constitution grants a person accused of non-capital crimes that they are entitled to bail, and that it will not be unreasonably excessive. However, this right is not a guarantee – there are a few circumstances that might exempt you from bail (such as risk of flight) and others which may temporarily prevent your release.
For California residents, Penal Code 1275.1 (PC 1275) which is a “bail hearing”, allows a judge to withhold bail even for minor offenses. This law specifically prevents defendants from being released if there is any suspicion that the bail funds may have been illegally obtained. It states that bail will not be accepted if a judge or magistrate believes that the funds were obtained through felonious methods.
In this case, a hold is placed on the inmate until funds that were not obtained through criminal methods are available for bail. A prosecutor or peace officer can file a declaration stating that they believe any money that will be used for bail was obtained through criminal means. A judge can also make the call himself without a declaration being filed, if he believes there is probable cause that a person would secure his or her own release with illegitimate funds.
Type of Crimes Affected
There are several crimes that may lead a judge, peace officer or prosecutor to request or invoke a PC 1275. Drug dealers can easily be affected by this penal code, due to the very nature of their crime. If an officer of the court has probable cause to believe that selling drugs is that person’s main source of income, then they will also assume that the money used for bail could have been illegally obtained. Other charges apt to invoke a PC 1275 hold are robbery, embezzlement or fraud.
Lifting the Hold
A PC 1275, or Bail Hearing, is not necessarily permanent nor is it irreversible. The accused can have the hold lifted by proving that the funds they are using for their release were obtained through legal and traceable means. This may be as easy as providing a pay stub from a legitimate job. Often, however, the process of lifting a PC 1275 is an arduous one that may be difficult for the accused to prove.
Bail bond agents can assist with all of the necessary paperwork needed to lift the hold and allow the defendant’s release. These documents can include signer backgrounds, bank account information and verification of traceable funds. Since most people will have to talk to a bail bond agent to secure release anyway, it is prudent to inform the bail agency of the potentiality of this kind of hold immediately, so they can get to work on having it lifted.
PC 1275 can cause an undue hardship on anyone who is charged with certain crimes; without release, the accused may miss work or even lose their job altogether. Unfortunately, the law allows judges to hold an accused person for crimes that would otherwise bring a quick bail amount and release. It is important for a defendant to know their rights under this penal code, and it’s always best to secure the help of a professional bond agency and a defense attorney if necessary.