San Diego DUI Lawyer Says California Bail Reform SB10 Was Prompted By Effort To Reduce Public Defender Cost


San Diego DUI Lawyer Says California Bail Reform SB10 Was Prompted By Effort To Reduce Public Defender Cost.

Last week, a law was passed that ends bail for State Court as we know it.  Currently, if you are arrested, depending on the crime and your prior record, there is a pre-set amount for your bail.  This is called the Bail Schedule.

The vast majority of people who bail out do not put up the money themselves, but, they pay a bail bondsman a percentage of the bail amount, usually about 10%, and the bail bondsman guarantees the whole amount of bail will be paid if the person fails to show up to court. The problem is that you don’t get the money you paid the bail bondsman back.  You are basically buying your way out of jail and with less money to retain a private lawyer. How do you reduce the caseload of the public defenders office?  You leave money on the table to hire one.

Starting in October next year, less money may be spent on bail.  Last week a new law was passed that is going to get rid of money bail entirely.  People who are arrested will either be simply released on their promise to appear in court, released on their promise to appear in court with some conditions or supervision or held in jail until their case is over.  No more bailing out.

The law was passed to address the unfairness to poorer arrestees who cannot afford to bail out and to address the enormous cost Counties have in keeping so many people in jail for days, weeks, months and sometimes longer ho have not even been found guilty yet. “ But, there is going to be an unintended benefit to some defendants, better legal representation and fewer case going to the local public defender” says Dan Smith, supervising attorney for San Diego Defenders, one of San Diego top DUI law firms.

This is all about the majority of people who are not poor, and thus do not qualify for the Public Defender, and who are not rich and can afford any attorney.  For people in the middle, for years there was a tough choice to make.  Most families could not afford to both bail out their loved one AND afford to hire a high quality lawyer to represent them.  To be sure, there are a lot of mediocre lawyers out there who take whatever they can from a client and then do little or nothing to fight for them.  The Judges and defense lawyers in our courts know who these mediocre lawyers are.

Worse yet, the prosecutors know who they are.  When the prosecutor sees a defendant walk into court with one of these lazy lawyers, they know they are not going to have to work hard. Jon Pettis, DUI trial lawyer who works with Dan Smith at San Diego Defenders, APC maintains that “A defendant has a much better chance at getting a good deal is if they have a lawyer with a great reputation for fighting for their clients in every case.”

Once bail reform goes into effect, families won’t have to make the tough choice of paying for bail or a good lawyer.  Nobody wants their loved one sitting in jail.  So, it is natural that they would bail them out as quickly as possible.  But, often that means lesser legal representation which means things are worse off in the long run either losing a trial or getting a worse deal from the prosecutor.

In just over a year, when someone goes to jail, they will be able to spend their money to get the best lawyer possible for them.  How much a lawyer charges does not necessarily reflect how good they are.  But, be sure, very good lawyers aren’t cheap. And State Lawmakers know that the cost of running the public defender offices in each county goes up every year.

By San Diego DUI Lawyer Dan Smith