Once a person is arrested on a DUI the officer brings them to the police station for processing. When the booking and processing is completed the suspect is placed in a cell to "dry out" if the case involved alcohol or drugs. When sober the person can be released with a ticket or be required to post bail. If bail is set the individual will have to contact a bail bondsman who can post a surety bond to guarantee the appearance in court. Bail in DUI cases in California can range anywhere from $5000 up to $100,000 depending on the severity of the charges and the history of the suspect. The fee paid to a bail company is usually 10 percent. Most cases in Los Angeles County are handled with an O.R. release which means no bail is required. In Torrance and Redondo Beach DUI cases for example, the O.R. is usually done within 24 hours of the arrest, but can take as long as 48 hours if the agency is busy or the person is extremely impaired. In conclusion, bail in a DUI case is discretionary and the factors that will dictate the requirement depend on the background of the accused and the seriousness of the criminal allegations.
An even larger question regarding bail is the issue of how long can a bond stay active on a case? Most bond insurance companies have a clause written in the agreement that allow them to cancel after one year. This means if the case remains ongoing after 12 months of the arrest the bonding agent can demand a renewal fee to keep the bail current. According to one DUI Attorney in San Luis Obispo, this can be a real problem, particularly in DUI cases where the case is being heavily litigated. It may take a year to get a case to trial on a drunk driving arrest, says the lawyer, and having a bail bond expire can be a real problem. In those cases, most lawyers will ask the California Superior Court to exonerate the bond and grant an O.R. release. After all, the accused will have likely demonstrated a good record of appearances and will be a candidate for this relief. Strong family ties and roots in the community also help.