Usually, a person’s first thought when they land in jail is: “how do I get out of here?” That’s where posting bail comes in.
Bail is cash, a bond, or property that a person will give to a court to ensure that he or she will appear in court when ordered to appear. Once bail is “posted,” typically the person is allowed to go free. If the defendant shows up at that later court date, typically the bail is refunded. If the defendant does not show up at that later court date, the court may choose to keep the bail that was posted and may also decide to issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest.
Judges are typically responsible for setting bail amounts. Most jails have standard bail schedules that set specific bail amounts for common crimes. The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires that bail not be excessive and not be used to punish a person for being accused of committing a crime. The primary purpose of bail is to ensure that the defendant will return to court, but will also allow the arrested person to remain free until formally convicted of a crime.
Bail can be posted in the following ways:
- cash or check for the full amount of the bail amount
- property worth the full amount of the bail amount
- a bond, which is a guaranteed payment of the full bail amount, or
- a waiver of payment on the condition that the defendant appears in court at the required time.
Being arrested can be one of the most overwhelming experiences a person can go through. You want to immediately defend yourself if you feel your rights are being impinged upon. Because of the emotions involved, it can be hard to know what to do and what not to do. Should you speak or not? The answer lies in understanding what rights are available to you, including Miranda rights and the right to remain silent.
The Miranda warning which was decided in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Miranda v. Arizona decision, requires that an officer must make a person aware of certain facts prior to questioning him or her during an arrest. It must be conveyed prior to an interrogation that:
“You have the right to remain silent.
If you do say anything, it can be used against you in a court of law.
You have the right to have a lawyer present during any questioning.
If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you if you so desire.”
So should you speak or not if you are being arrested?
Generally, you do not need to respond to police questioning if you have been arrested. In fact, you typically do not need to answer questions if you are in the process of being arrested. A police officer is not able to arrest a person for not resigning to questions, but there are some situations where you will be required to provide information such as identification.
It is always advised that if you have been arrested and are being questioned that you do not respond to any questions without first consulting an attorney. Too often people will provide evidence that can be used against them during a trial, even if they do not intend to. If you have been arrested and are being questioned you should always respond that you will not answer any questions without having a lawyer present.
Failure to Provide Miranda Warning
When an arresting officer fails to read a Miranda warning, most of what an arrestee says in response to questioning cannot be used for most purposes as evidence at trial. If you were not read your Miranda rights when you were arrested, you will want to immediately let your criminal defense lawyer know. They will be able to use this information in building an effective defense.
One thing that is for sure is you should never ever talk back to an officer. Allowing your emotions to get involved can land you in hot water, even if you feel you are just defending yourself.
Differences Between Civil and Criminal Cases
For those unfamiliar with the intricacies of the legal system, terms often get lumped together. Two such terms include “civil” and “criminal.” While illegal conduct can result in both civil and criminal lawsuits, the way these two types of cases are treated is very different.
A quick distinction that can be made is: crimes are usually offenses against the state and are thus prosecuted by the state and civil cases are usually disputes between individuals.
Beyond that, here are some more differences between criminal cases and civil cases
How the Case is Prosecuted
Crimes against the state (criminal cases) are prosecuted by the state. For criminal cases the prosecutor would file the case in court as a representative of the state. In a civil case that happens between individuals, the person that feels wronged would file the case.
Criminal cases often result in jail time and sometimes monetary damages in the form of fines. Typically civil cases result in monetary damages or orders to either do something or not do something.
Standard of Proof
Standard of proof is the level of proof that is required to be shown in a legal case. In a criminal case, the standard of proof must be proved “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Because civil cases are often considered less blame-worthy and because punishments are less severe, civil cases can proved by lower standards of proof such as “the preponderance of the evidence” (this means it was more likely than not that something occurred in a certain way).
Criminal cases are typically trial by jury. Civil cases will sometimes go before a jury, but are usually just decided by a judge.
Defendants in a criminal case are entitled to an attorney. If the defendant is not able to afford an attorney, then the state is required to provide one. Defendants in civil cases are not given an attorney and must pay for one, or else defend themselves.
Under criminal law, protections afforded to defendants are considerable. Some examples include protection against illegal searches and seizures that are covered under the 4th Amendment. Many of these protections are not available to a civil case defendant.
Criminal law covers a wide variety of topics, including DUI defense, petty theft, drug crimes, grand theft, and sex crimes just to name a few. If you have been accused of any form of crime, it is always advised that you work with a criminal law attorney like the ones at Ferragut Law Firm.
The Role of a Criminal Defense Lawyer
Because the average person does not have an understanding of the criminal justice process, which comprises a number of complex state and federal laws, it’s always advised that you work with a criminal defense lawyer.
Criminal defense lawyers assist clients as their case moves through the criminal justice process, from pre-trial and through the conclusion of the trial proceedings. In some cases, when a client suspects that they might be charged with a crime a client will make the decision to retain a lawyer before they have even been charged. If you have been involved in a criminal incident and have suspicions that you might need a lawyer, it’s best to hire one as quickly as possible as they will be able to provide you with guidance on how to proceed. The earlier an attorney is involved in a case, the more protection they can offer, and even in times ensure that a suspect does not divulge any potentially incriminating information.
A criminal defense lawyer will also be able to advise a client on if a case can even be brought against their client. In cases where there is insufficient evidence, a lawyer’s main objective will be to have the court drop the charges against a client. There are many avenues of defense that a lawyer can apply, including challenging probable cause, persuading a court to reduce or waive bail, and negotiating a plea bargain to reduce charges to a lesser crime or reduce sentencing.
The role of a criminal defense lawyer will be entirely based on the case that is presented and the type of defense that a client needs. Obtaining the help of a criminal defense lawyer early on in your case can mean the difference between guilty and not guilty.
Ferragut Law Firm Will Defend You
Ferragut Law Firm is a top rated criminal defense law firm based in Phoenix Arizona. We are dedicated exclusively to the practice of criminal law in all state, federal, and city courts throughout the State of Arizona.
Our mission is to achieve the best possible results for our clients through hard work, attention to detail, and aggressive advocacy, while maintaining the highest level of professionalism, integrity, and ethical standards.
We are committed to providing the most aggressive, professional, and effective representation for our clients accused of crimes to ensure that their legal rights are protected and that the best possible results are achieved. Contact us to discuss the details of your case.
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2 North Central Avenue, Suite #1125
Phoenix, Arizona 85004