"Don't Bail on Me"
Updated: Apr 14
By Clayton T. Robertson (RobertsonLitigation.com) (Criminal Defense Attorney)
One of the most significant events in the early stages of your criminal case is whether you are able to bail out of jail. In this blog, I discuss several reasons why getting bailed out is so important. In a follow-up blog, I will discuss how a private criminal defense attorney can assist you with this process. If your attorney isn't trying to help you get out of jail, it's a problem.
First, out-of-custody clients can participate more effectively on the defense team. This is crucial because you know more about your case than anyone else. The fact is clients are of more assistance "on the outside" because attorneys have more access to their out-of-custody clients than their in-custody clients. (This is all the more true during Covid, when jail facilities continue to have some form of restricted access, even for attorneys.) An out-of-custody client is easily reachable by phone, by video, or they can come into the office to speak with their attorney.
Second, an out-of-custody client is better able to keep their "ear to the ground" for the occurrence of important case-related events. This includes, for example, the presence of additional witnesses, other favorable (or unfavorable) case-related information, and anything else that might benefit their attorney.
Third, out-of-custody clients feel less pressure to resolve their cases on unfavorable terms. Even under the best of conditions, incarceration is a terrible experience. (And it can be a death sentence if the jail is experiencing a Covid outbreak that leaves you vulnerable.) The pressure to "take a deal," even when you are innocent, is substantially greater for an in-custody client. Prosecutors know this and often craft offers that are just slightly good enough -- but still awful in light of the facts of the case -- because they know in-custody clients want out of jail. You never want to put yourself in this position.
Fourth, out-of-custody clients can begin to move forward with their lives. For example, they can participate in programs or engage in other "good behavior" that will help your attorney negotiate with the prosecutor or which later can be used as a form of mitigation at sentencing with the judge. (Mitigation are "good facts" that reflect positively on you as a person.) When you are out-of-custody, you also feel better and you are better able to put the incident behind you to try to salvage what is left of your life, even as your attorney is working behind the scenes to fight the case.
There are scores of other reasons for why bailing out can be critical to your case. I realize this is often a significant financial decision for you (and your family), which makes hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney all the more important.