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Sacramento's DUI Bail Policies

In Sacramento County on most first offense Driving Under the Influence cases you are not required to post bail but instead you are released on your own recognizance.  This is good, it means that you don't have to pay the court in order to be released from custody pending your further court dates.

If however, your DUI was a felony, resulted in injury another person besides yourself, or this is not your first offense the court might impose bail.

Sacramento DUI departments three and four regularly rotate judges every 6 months or so.  The current judges in Departments three and four seem to be taking a more aggressive posture towards ordering bail on 2nd and 3rd offense cases.  Finding out that you are required to post bail at your first court appearance places you in a very bad position.

State law guarantees that you have 48 hours notice of a bail hearing before you are required to answer.  The Sacramento courts have on several occasions ignored the 48 hour requirement when there was no defense attorney to stand up for it and demand it.

Defendant's ordered to post bail must either pay for a bail bond ($800-$3,000 that you never get back) while you fight your case or, remain in custody while you case is being fought (not a good alternative).  The court will then tell you that if you are willing to give up your rights to fight your case and enter a plea "today" that you can pick a future jail turn-in date instead of being remanded into custody right then and there.

I strongly discourage you from resolving your case at the first appearance because you generally do not have enough information about your case to make a good decision at that time.  You probably have not even had a chance to review your police report by the first court date plus there is additional data that must be gathered and evaluated before you decide whether to fight your case or enter into a plea agreement.

In car camera video footage, accuracy checks on the blood and breath testing equipment and radio dispatch communication are only a few things besides the police report that should be reviewed by an experienced DUI lawyer before you decide how to resolve your case.

Your defense attorney should challenge the imposition of bail and explain to the court why you are not a flight risk; for example; You have lived your entire life in Sacramento, your family lives in Sacramento, you work here and have never missed a previous court appearance.Bail is almost always ordered on 3rd offenses but not on 2nd offenses unless there are particularly bad facts, like a high blood alcohol level, driving without a license or insurance, and particularly bad driving like speeding or crashing.A experience Sacramento DUI attorney should be able to better guide you through this process.

John Campanella

I have been representing people accused of drunk driving since I began practicing in 1995. I went to my first Sacramento DUI conference that year and listened to great DUI attorneys like Ed Kuwatch AKA, “Fast Eddie” and Lawrence Taylor who motivated me to study and practice in this area of law.

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