DUI & DWI Defense Bail and Bonds for DUI & DWI Offenses

  1. After a DUI or DWI arrest, a person is held in custody at a local police station or jail. Bail is the process where a DUI or DWI suspect can pay money into court which ensures that the suspect will return to court for trial. Bail bonds come into the picture when a criminal suspect cannot personally afford to pay the amount of the bail.

    Arraignment and Bail in Criminal Court

    When a person is arrested on suspicion of a DUI or DWI offense, he or she is brought to a local police station by police officers. The arrested person’s identity, information, photographs and fingerprints are taken and recorded during the “booking” process. For most DUI or DWI offenses, a set amount of money is required to be paid by the suspect in return for the suspect’s promise to return to criminal court for scheduled proceedings. The defendant must appear at any court proceedings such as the arraignment, pre-trial motions, preliminary hearings and the actual trial. This process to secure release via the payment of money to the court is called “bail.”

    If the defendant does not attend any of these court proceedings, he or she may be arrested immediately and any bail money that has been paid into the court will be lost. This is called the “forfeiture” of bail.

    In some instances where a DUI or DWI arrest might involve additional criminal charges, the suspect is placed into a local holding cell or jail to await a hearing before a judge called an “arraignment.” At the arraignment, the suspect must answer whether they are “guilty” or “not guilty” to each criminal charge alleged by a prosecutor. A plea of guilty will result in the suspect being held after arraignment to deal with the repercussions of committing the crime. If a “not guilty” plea is entered, a trial will be necessary to determine his or her guilt or innocence. A bail hearing takes place before a judge, who sets the amount of money required for the suspect to obtain his or her release from custody.

    How is the Bail Amount Calculated?

    In a criminal case such as being held under suspicion of a DUI or DWI offense, a criminal suspect might pay bail after being booked to secure release from custody. If he or she appears before a judge, bail may be set for a different amount at an arraignment or another hearing. The amount of bail may have been pre-determined or, in some circumstances, there is judicial discretion to set the amount of bail based upon the certain factors such as the following:
    • The driving history and DUI / DWI record of the suspect
    • How serious the DUI / DWI offense is in relation to third party injuries
    • The ties that the suspect has to the local community, employment and family

    What If You Cannot Afford To Pay the Bail Amount?

    If the suspect is unable to pay the full amount by him or herself, financial help from family and friends may be an option. In such an instance where friends or family come forward to pay bail, a “bond” may be required to be posted. The bond contains a written promise that the bail amount will be paid in full by the bail bond agency if the suspect fails to attend court proceedings.

    Bail bond agencies will usually post these bonds and they charge a fee for their services. The amount they charge is usually about ten percent of the amount set for bail. Most bail bond agencies will also require security before they will post a bond so that they are not out of pocket should the suspect fail to make required court appearances.
    DUI & DWI Law:
    Criminal Procedure

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    Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler
    Michael M. Wechsler is an experienced attorney, founder of TheLaw.com, A. Research Scholar at Columbia Business School and of-counsel to Kaplan, Williams & Graffeo, LLC. He was also an SVP and chief Internet strategist at Zedge.net and legal consultant at Kroll Ontrack, a leading service e-discovery and computer forensics service provider.


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