At Bail Man Bail Bonds, we are committed to your interests and our honest communication will never lead you astray.
At Bail Man Bail Bonds, we are committed to your interests and our honest communication will never lead you astray.
An American who represents themselves in court has a fool for a client, according to an old story told about former President Abraham Lincoln. But the truth about that quote is that it actually arose from Henry Kett’s 1814 collection of proverbs and Bon Mots called “The Flowers of Wit.”
Here Kett suggests it was an eminent lawyer who actually coined that quote, and it seems Kett may have been hinting to potential legal defendants there might be some bias in the quote itself.
In 2019, a day and age where even the president’s lawyers are being indicted, some Americans might be smart to wonder if having your own lawyer is an act of foolishness in itself.
If you are wondering whether or not you can represent yourself in court, check out these pros and cons before you begin making those preparations.
Being faced with a legal problem can be intimidating, and very isolating experience. You might feel even more alone if you want to represent yourself in court to save money or even time in the justice system.
But at the end of the day, in this day and age, as many as eighty percent of criminal defendants start a case without a lawyer.
So yes you can represent yourself in court, and in some circumstances, you are forced to.
Although the Miranda rights of certain defendants include the right to retain counsel or have it appointed to you, those rights do not apply to defendants that are charged with crimes, but are not arrested.
In other words, if you are charged with a misdemeanor and don’t go to jail, you don’t have the right to free counsel in America.
This applies to civil cases as well, which are cases you will have to pay for your own counsel if you want it.
In most cases, you can represent yourself in court. In rare and extreme cases, a judge may require representation on serious charges, in order to avoid the possibility of an appeal on the grounds of ineffective counsel.
But also in most cases, having a lawyer can actually help you and your case receive the best possible outcome for your life.
Even so, there are times it could be foolish to represent yourself, and there are many cons to doing so.
It goes without saying that having your own lawyer that is not court-appointed could be costly. But at the same time, not having one could be costly to your end game.
This could be costly in civil court if you lose because you represented yourself. But it could also be costly in other courts from a legal cost perspective, such as family court or criminal court.
Decisions made could impact the rest of your life. Examples of this include custody decisions, or those related to access to your children, or jail time.
You may be able to represent yourself in court in any case. But effectively representing yourself, and winning in court, are two different things in the legal system.
You may lose a negotiation, at trial, or even in discussion with the other party, who could be a lawyer, because you just don’t have the experience.
Someone that knows the lingo, knows the judges and knows the system better than you, will have a leg up on your case. This is true even if you have a rock solid case to represent for yourself.
Seasoned lawyers lose in court all the time, which means you can too, even if you think you have an excellent case.
You may already have the balance of probabilities stacked against you if you decide to self-represent. Those with less experience may have a pre-existing bias against them.
Many judges and lawyers in court do not like it when they are in court with someone that is self-represented because it slows up the process. Some judges may be understanding and accommodating, but some are biased against you for the very act of not being able to afford a lawyer.
Judge Posner of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit retired because he felt Americans in the legal system that did not have lawyers were mistreated.
It isn’t how it is supposed to be. But clearly, high-ranking judges themselves acknowledge that it happens.
If you are forced to wear jail-issued clothing to court before your case is resolved, something such as an orange jumpsuit could affect your case.
In court, appearances could be everything when it comes to your final outcome.
The main reason people hire lawyers is that they need to have their rights represented in court or at hearings. You may be well versed on your rights, but you still may not know all of your rights the way a lawyer would.
And many lawyers in court, that aren’t representing you, will not share that knowledge with you.
You could have rights violated without your knowledge and this will impact your case. It could also impact any appeal you may have, or grounds for an appeal should the need arise.
Before you start, review this ultimate guide to representing yourself in court.
As the technology age progresses, and litigants and defendants have more access to legal knowledge, more and more people are self-representing. This means that it is getting easier to represent yourself in court, and more courts are evolving with this trend.
Not only are more courts accustomed to it today, but more are assisting the process through innovations in the courthouse.
This could include free duty counsel assistance to get free legal advice before a hearing, or even more help from the court clerks. Many judges are more accustomed to seeing it as well, in all types of court hearings, and are very helpful to litigants and defendants that are confused during the process.
At the same time, if you feel the system is biased against you, you do in many cases have the right to request a jury trial. This can be helpful for you to worry less about the opinions of a jury of your peers, as opposed to worrying about the opinions of a courtroom full of legal professionals.
Saving money is perhaps the biggest reason people choose to represent themselves in court, and it’s a worthy reason. You don’t have to be on the poverty line to want to use this reason as well.
You may well have an airtight case that is simple to manage on your own, without racking up thousands of dollars in lawyer’s fees.
And in cases like family court, the legal rules and protocol lend to an air of balanced probabilities in a two-party system anyway.
You are going to have your say in court whether you have a lawyer or not.
Having a lawyer in some cases may also mean that you don’t even have your whole story heard, because some lawyers think it’s not a great story to tell. But you still have a right to tell your story and have your day in court, no matter what side of the fence you are on.
Abraham Lincoln was reportedly an honest lawyer, to the extent that he even gave legal retainers back if he felt there was no case to be had. But at the same time, one of his own Letters to Congress illustrated he knew of a “vague popular belief” that lawyers were “necessarily dishonest.”
While he may have felt that it was foolish to represent yourself in court, he also called to all lawyers, to be honest, or choose a different profession.
But we know that doesn’t always happen, and that’s the last problem you want to be facing when dealing with a serious legal problem.
When you have legal problems in America, your Sixth Amendment Constitutional rights demand that you have the right to a lawyer and speedy trial. But you do not always have the right to have a lawyer paid for you by the state.
And as much as you think you may know, or as good as you think your case may be, you may not even know any of that if you are representing yourself in court.
At the same time, even if you do know those rights, you may not know how to argue for them successfully in court. And that lack of knowledge could hurt you in the earliest stages of your court case.
When that happens, it sets the tone for your entire case which could lead to disastrous consequences for you, for the rest of your life. Even if you decide to later represent yourself in court, get help in the earliest stages with a free consultation about any part of the bail process in the Van Nuys area from Bail Man Bail Bonds.
Appearing for court is a daunting task. The outcome may seem to be uncertain. So it makes sense that not showing up at all would be tempting.
There’s also actually many reasons people fail to appear that don’t even have anything to do with their prosecution.
The truth is that if you do skip your court date, unless you’ve been charged with a very serious crime, you won’t be facing a nationwide manhunt like in the movies.
But you should know that by failing to appear after posting bail you’re complicating your situation a lot. You may be facing additional charges and creating consequences for whoever posted your bail bond as well.
So before bail jumping, know what you’re getting into. Read this explanation of what you should expect to happen.
Failure to appear for your court date is only a crime if it can be proven that you were given the required notification. An acceptable notification may be just a letter in the mail.
To be charged, your reason for missing it must also be considered insufficient or unsubstantiated. You will be responsible for proving that the circumstances preventing you from appearing in court were out of your control.
There are examples of the defendant having difficulty proving this even when they have a legitimate reason for missing the court date. Courts are skeptical of the claim of illness or other excuses.
Your defense can be made even more difficult if you fail to surrender to the authorities as soon as possible after that date as well. 30 days is often the maximum time allowed.
There are a few consequences that will usually follow bail jumping:
The penalties for bail jumping depend on the jurisdiction where the crime is being prosecuted. But we can discuss some of the possibilities of what will happen.
A warrant for arrest means that the police will be notified and have the right to arrest you anywhere you are found. They may arrest you in any public or private place.
The police might not actively search for you, but they will have your warrant in their computer system. So if you are stopped for a traffic violation, or if your information is checked in the case of any other incident, they will become aware of your warrant and likely arrest you.
Once you have been arrested after bail jumping it is very unlikely that you’ll be given the opportunity to post bail again. You will have to spend time in jail until the court proceedings complete.
In many states, failure to make a court appearance is its own crime.
In some states, there is only one charge that can be issued for bail jumping. In others, there is a range of charges you could face.
The charge for jumping bail on a class C misdemeanor can be different than with a class B or A. And the charge may be far more serious for bail jumping in the case of a felony.
It is also possible to be charged with contempt of court for bail jumping.
Any of these charges can result in additional sentences of jail time or fines.
The purpose of setting bail is for greater assurance that the accused with show up for their court date. This is supposed to be effective because the money you have paid to be released during the trial process is only returned if you comply with the proceedings.
Therefore, if you don’t show up, the bail money you have paid, or that has been paid on your behalf, will not be returned. This could have serious financial repercussions as we will discuss later.
You should also keep in mind that it can help to stay on the judge’s good side. It’s always helpful for your judge to feel like you’re acting in good faith and working with the system.
In some cases, when found guilty, the sentence can vary greatly depending on the discretion of the judge. This is when it’s especially important that the judge views you favorably.
Bail bond companies are here because many people (and their family or friends) are unable to pay their own bail. There are a lot of benefits to being granted bail. So the bail bond company can help out a great deal.
The bail bondsman will put up the money for your bail on the condition that you agree to appear in court and continue to follow all legal requirements.
When working with a bail bond company, you or your family may have to offer collateral. This could be a car or some other valuable assets.
After bail jumping, the bail bond company will not be able to be repaid by the court. The company may take different kinds of action to collect the money owed.
Some companies have agents that take care of all interaction with the people who hire them. In some states, bail bond companies can hire bounty hunters to track down the people who owe them money if it’s necessary.
Be aware that if your family members have hired a bail bond company you could be putting them at risk by bail jumping. Your family hired a bail bondsman because they are in a tight financial situation. The last thing you want to do is make their life more difficult with another financial burden.
If you have posted bail you should understand the consequences of bail jumping. And do your best to take the right next steps.
If you or anyone you know needs to consult someone about posting bail you can contact us. We offer a free consultation.
When you or a loved one is taken to jail, the first thing you want to do is secure an immediate release.
The average bail amount in California is $50,000. Remember, at least half of the bail amounts are higher!
So now what do you do? You don’t have that kind of cash to hand to the court.
Most people require the assistance of a trusted bail bonds agent to get out of jail. A bail bonds agent makes a loan of the bail money to get you or your loved one out.
The agent will ask for collateral for the loan. What does collateral mean? Read on to learn more.
Contact a bail bondsman as soon as possible to start the process of posting bail. He can help use his knowledge and experience to navigate the bail system.
The amount of bail depends on many factors. The judge takes the severity of the charge and history of the accused into consideration. The court also looks at the job history, family situation, and overall stability.
The bail amounts set in the state bail schedule are minimums. The judge may increase the bail amount if the court feels that there is any danger of the accused fleeing.
Once bail amount is set the defendant may post a bond to get out of jail while awaiting trial.
When you post a bond through a bail bond agent, you pay a nonrefundable fee of up to 10% to the bail bondsman. It’s like the premium on an insurance policy. The bail agent will then post bail to the court and guarantee that the defendant returns to court.
You and your co-signers (family and friends) will sign a contract with the bail bondsman. The contract states that the defendant (you), when released, promises to make all court appearances. The obligation ends when the court legally declares that the case has concluded.
You and your co-signers put up collateral equal in value to the bail amount. The bail bondsman holds it until the defendant meets all obligations.
Your bail agent holds collateral just in case the defendant (you) fails to meet court dates an appearances. The bail bondsman has loaned you the money to set you free, after all. If you do not meet your obligations, the collateral is forfeit, meaning the bail bondsman may sell it to repay the loan.
For this reason, you and your family need to place items like deeds to real estate, vehicle titles, bank accounts, jewelry, stocks & bonds, and other valuables with the bail bondsman until the court case is decided.
All the items given as collateral cannot have other liens against them. A bail bondsman will use them to recover the loss of their loan if the defendant fails to make their obligations. Large items like homes and vehicles generally may remain in use, but small items are secured while used as collateral.
House property titles offered as collateral for securing a bail bond must be owned outright. Normally, the home is allowed to be used during the process. If the home is a rental property, the owner will continue to collect rent, even while the deeds are held by the bail bondsman.
If the house has a mortgage, the bank is the first creditor, so it will not work as a guarantee to a bail agent.
Surrender title deeds to land as security. Homes and land need not belong to the defendant, but cosigners must understand that they will be forfeit if obligations are not met. Again, there can be no other liens against the property.
Some bail agents take titles of valuable items such as planes, trucks, boats, RVs, or cars as collateral. Some items may need to be secured in a yard or hangar until the case finishes. There can be no other loans against the vehicle.
Bail agents can take and hold these items for the duration of the court proceedings and return them promptly. Even bank and brokerage accounts can work.
Just be aware that the accounts used for collateral are locked and money cannot be withdrawn until the case ends. A bail agent can release collateral immediately at the end of their contract.
Handing financial instruments directly to the court can mean a wait of a year or more for their return at the end of the case.
Some bail bondsmen can accept and secure things like watches, art, tools, antiques or jewelry to serve as collateral. Other items that may be acceptable include:
Bail bondsmen are not expert gemologists or antique dealers. They may not put a high value on collateral like art, furniture or jewelry.
Bail collateral is typically returned after the defendant pays off all financial obligations and the case has been concluded. Usually, this is within five business days.
Getting out of jail in Hollywood is a high priority. We can work with your attorney and co-signers to secure your release quickly and discreetly. Emergency situations are our specialty.
With over 15 years in the business, we can help you gather cash and assets quickly to secure your release. All your information is confidential. You can trust us to fairly assess your risk and determine your premium.
Our husband and wife team are always available to answer your questions like “What does collateral mean?” and “How quickly can I get out?”
Get the trusted help you need. Call us now!