Los Angeles Bail Bonds-Could This Be Next?

March 30, 2010 by  
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Los Angeles Bail Bonds-Could This Be Next?

In an attempt to reduce state expenditures two Florida state politicians are sponsoring bills to change the law governing bail bonds.  These bills would drastically overhaul the current Florida law that arranges custody release for low income arrestees. The current law is supposed to evaluate an arrestee’s financial situation and determine if they have the resources to hire a bail bondsman on their own.  If not, the state will step in and arrange for their release.

law scales los angeles bail bondsWhen someone is arrested they have a few options to attempt to gain release from jail while their case is ongoing.  While bail law varies from state to state, most states follow some basic tenets.  An arrestee can arrange to have the full bail amount posted at the jail or court in the form of cash or certified check.  With bail generally set in the tens of thousands of dollars this isn’t much of an option for most people and consequently they turn to a bail bondsman to aid their release.  The last option would be to put their faith in the state and hope for a pre-trial release.

Sen. John Thrasher and Rep. Chris Dorworth, sponsoring Senate Bill 782 and House Bill 445 respectively, contend that these two bills will save state taxpayers millions of dollars.  The current law they look to amend was intended to release low-income inmates that were deemed to be little or no flight risk.  This would reduce jail populations while the accused were having their cases litigated and in turn would reduce the cost to the state by not having to house them.

The argument that new laws are needed to amend the current law focuses once again on the cost facing the tax payers.  While initially good intentioned, the pre-trial release program has ballooned and with it the government bureaucracy needed to manage it.  Critics argue that this swelling of the program is mainly do to the relaxing of standards used to qualify participants.  In particular they point to arrestees that actually do have the financial resources to contract a bail bondsman and don’t qualify as low income.  They also point out that dangerous arrestees may also qualify for the state’s inmate release program when they shouldn’t.

With so many states and local governments suffering from the downturn in the economy is should be no surprise that politicians will look to save money either through cutting programs or, like in this case, retooling them to be more efficient.  And while these legislative maneuvers may create some perceivable monetary savings, the question remains whether these laws will have any significant benefit for society as a whole.

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