The issue of bail is always challenging. First, it can be expensive. Second, if you want your loved one to “learn a lesson,” is it best to leave her in jail? Finally, will the Court consider the person less “upstanding” at the Arraignment if he or she was unable to bail out?
All of those considerations are relevant. However, for a defense attorney, the biggest consideration (often overlooked) is how remaining in custody will ultimately impact the final resolution of the case. When a defendant is held in custody, it often results in many unintended negative consequences. Here are some factors to consider if you’re struggling with the notion of posting bail:
1. If Incustody, The State Has All The Power
When a person sits in-custody, the State Attorney has all the power. If a person was arrested on a Friday and sits in-custody all weekend, by Monday’s Arraignment, they have most likely served their sentence. The person is faced with the option to plead guilty and get out of jail or, continue the case, and potentially remain in custody. Basically, if a person is in custody but can be immediately set free by pleading to the charge, the State can leverage them into pleading guilty. While in jail, people think about their jobs, family, pets and shame. It often leads them to the conclusion that they should plead guilty at the earliest opportunity so that they can return to their responsibilities. Young people will often plead guilty to get out of jail quickly and hide the matter from their parents.
2. If Incustody, Your Representation Is A Gamble
An in-custody defendant does not get the attorney of their choice. If a person is in-custody, the Court automatically appoints them an attorney. They may get a terrific public defender or they may get a public defender who is too busy to be much help. Either way, the in-custody defendant does not get to choose who represents them at Arraignment.
3. Deals / Plea Negotiations Do Not Flow As Easily To The Incustody Defendant
Deals that are often available to out-of-custody defendants are not typically presented to those who are in-custody. This is due, in part, to the fact that the prosecuting attorneys know they have leverage over the in-custody defendant. If the prosecutor plays it right, they can usually squeeze a guilty plea out of someone whose case, if out of custody, would be resolved in a more lenient way. Anyone who has worked in a prosecutor’s office knows that statistics are critical. The more guilty pleas, the better the statistics for the office. Clearly, it is easier to improve those stats by forcing pleas out of in-custody defendants.
Don’t Be A Stastic!
Don’t let a friend or loved one be a statistic for the State. From our perspective, there is a big disadvantage to defense if a person is held in-custody. While it may not “teach him a lesson” to bail your loved one out right away, being out of jail will help immensely in the defense of the case. Criminal cases always carry some “lessons” and there is no need to add the punishment of remaining in-custody. If you help your friend or family member with bail, it allows us to get the client moving on “tasks” they can do ahead of court dates. We can present a better case to the Prosecutor and a better client to the Court by being proactive. Ultimately, the goal is to learn from being criminal charged but also to move forward in a positive way with life. Think long term and not on the short term lesson.
If you would like to ask an attorney further questions about how remaining in custody could impact your specific case, give our office a call. Witt Law Group is a criminal defense / DUI Defense law firm with offices Gig Harbor and Bremerton Washington.