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Mmy

Exonerated if DA doesn't charge????!!!

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My fiance was arrested, booked, and was let go on bail. Upon release they set a date for him to be in court. He showed up to court on the required day and no one showed up from the DAs office. The judge said that no charges had been filed and set another court date. The judge also said that if they didn't charge him by that date then he would be exonerated. The public defender said that even if he was not charged, they still might charge him later and that exonerated was referring only to the bail. Does this make sense to anybody??? Is this legal??? I thought the bail was based on the charges.

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Yes and yes.  If he doesn't get charged, the court will exonerate the bail bond, so the surety company that wrote the bond should release any collateral pledged for the bond.  Beyond that, the prosecutor has until the statute of limitations expires to file charges.

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The bail is not based on the charge.  The bail is based on the probability the defendant will appear in court and the danger  to the community if the defendant is released.  Many factors enter into the bail amount including the charges, the defendant's record, ties to the community, wealth, mental condition, and hair color. (Almost just kidding.)

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But he was arrested, paid a bailbondsman to bail him out, only to find out he wasnt charged. Why arrest him if he wasn't getting charged? Can we sue for the money we paid to the bail bondsman? You can't just arrest people without charging them, can you?

 

Can they delay charging someone they already arrested and released on bail?

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5 minutes ago, Mmy said:

But he was arrested, paid a bailbondsman to bail him out, only to find out he wasnt charged. Why arrest him if he wasn't getting charged? Can we sue for the money we paid to the bail bondsman? You can't just arrest people without charging them, can you?

 

An arrest only requires probable cause to believe the person being arrested committed some offense. A prosecutor has to convince a jury the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, a much higher standard. So the prosecutor might decline to file charges if he or she believes the evidence is not yet strong enough for it. It might also take some time to get the charges filed, especially if an indictment is required. In short, the arrest can still be good even if no charges are ever filed.

 

You cannot sue over the bond money. As long as he makes all his required court appearances you'll get that back (less any fee for the bondsperson). Your financé can see a civil rights litigation attorney to find out if he has any case for civil rights violations if no charges are filed by the next court date. The state has until the statute of limitations expires to charge him, so if the bail is exonerated at the next court hearing, you'll get the bond back but that does not mean he's out of danger from being charged and prosecuted for the offense.

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So they can sit back and hope he gets in trouble again for the duration of the statute of limitations for the sole purpose of not having enough evidence initially? 

 

After asking other people that had been arrested in this county, it appears they never press charges after people Are arrested and released. They wait for a year then mail them the charges in a letter. Sometimes they dont get the letter (if they moved, for example) and a warrant goes out for their arrest when they miss court. They dont realize it until They are pulled over for a traffic violation and are arrested.

 

And these are for very basic crimes: possession, felon with a firearm, etc. Should be open and shut cases. No ethical reason to wait on the charges because the evidence is there or they wouldnt have been arrested.

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If he had stayed in custody instead of bailing out, the DA would have made a quick decision about filing the charges.  Since he bailed out, they can take their time.  Cops arrest.  They don't decide what charges are filed or when.  That's the local prosecutor's job.

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3 hours ago, Mmy said:

So they can sit back and hope he gets in trouble again for the duration of the statute of limitations for the sole purpose of not having enough evidence initially? 

 

No. If he gets in trouble for something that will be a new and separate charge. Unless his actions provide some direct evidence to the unknown reason he was arrested for.

 

3 hours ago, Mmy said:

After asking other people that had been arrested in this county, it appears they never press charges after people Are arrested and released. They wait for a year then mail them the charges in a letter. Sometimes they dont get the letter (if they moved, for example) and a warrant goes out for their arrest when they miss court. They dont realize it until They are pulled over for a traffic violation and are arrested.

 

The prosecutor can wait until the end of the statute of limitations before filing charges, although it is generally frowned upon to hold charges for no valid reason (And I've seen minor cases dismissed by a judge before when the prosecutor couldn't explain why charges were delayed). Depending on the charges they may have had to wait on an outside agencies, such as a lab, before charging. People not getting court paperwork because "they moved" is their own fault. Most states have laws that require you to update your address within a short time after moving and courts usually send out multiple notices.

 

3 hours ago, Mmy said:

And these are for very basic crimes: possession, felon with a firearm, etc. Should be open and shut cases. No ethical reason to wait on the charges because the evidence is there or they wouldnt have been arrested.

 

Those are basic charges?? I didn't see if you listed a state but I am confident in saying that these have a high probability of being felonies in most states. Those are beyond "basic crimes" and most likely result in large fines and jail/prison time. Some states (including mine) require these types of crimes to go through a grand jury prior to formal charges being filed. While my county has one that hears cases every work day, the county next to us only hears cases one day every two weeks. Its possible that they are just getting their case together before going through the filing process. And that could be further delayed if they are waiting on lab results or other evidence from outside sources. 

 

As stated if he shows up to the next date and no charges are filed he should get his bond back. If he believes the officers did not have probable cause to make the arrest he can seek an attorney to review the incident and advise him what the next steps would be. Just be cautious not to confuse the fact that no charges were filed meaning the arrest lacked probable cause. 

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On 9/7/2019 at 10:29 AM, Mmy said:

Why arrest him if he wasn't getting charged? . . .  You can't just arrest people without charging them, can you?

 

These questions make little sense.  People get arrested and then are not charged all the time for lots of reasons.  It's not like the cops refrain from making arrests until they are sure that the prosecutor will file charges.

 

 

On 9/7/2019 at 10:29 AM, Mmy said:

Can we sue for the money we paid to the bail bondsman?

 

"We"?  This has nothing to do with you.  And whom do you suppose you might sue?

 

 

On 9/7/2019 at 10:29 AM, Mmy said:

Can they delay charging someone they already arrested and released on bail?

 

As I already told you, the prosecutor has until the statute of limitations expires to file charges.

 

 

On 9/7/2019 at 10:51 AM, Mmy said:

So they can sit back and hope he gets in trouble again for the duration of the statute of limitations for the sole purpose of not having enough evidence initially?

 

Your fiance committing another crime would not generally provide evidence of the crime for which he was arrested (and, of course, if you think your fiance is likely to commit crimes, why would you stay engaged to him?).

 

 

On 9/7/2019 at 2:41 PM, Fuzzz said:

Those are basic charges?? I didn't see if you listed a state but I am confident in saying that these have a high probability of being felonies in most states. Those are beyond "basic crimes" and most likely result in large fines and jail/prison time.

 

Ummm...the OP mentioned two crimes:  "possession" and "felon with a firearm."  While the OP didn't mention what is being possessed, it could easily be "possession" of small quantities of drugs for personal use.  That hardly has "a high probability of being" a felony in any state and most certainly is a "basic crime."

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3 hours ago, pg1067 said:

Ummm...the OP mentioned two crimes:  "possession" and "felon with a firearm."  While the OP didn't mention what is being possessed, it could easily be "possession" of small quantities of drugs for personal use.  That hardly has "a high probability of being" a felony in any state and most certainly is a "basic crime."

 

True. I made the assumption that if they are possessing a firearm, they would be possessing the felony level controlled substances. Even small quantities or personal use can be felonies depending on what is possessed.  It is likely that if it is marijuana or a low level schedule drug it would be at the misd level.

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In our county possession is a misdemeanor. What I meant with my statement "these are pretty basic charges" is that they are very open and shut cases. What more do you need to know to press charges on possession? Guy drives in car. Guy gets pulled over. Cop sees drugs in center concil. Cop arrests guy. Guy gets booked. Guy posts bail. Guy goes to court. Prosecutor doesn't show up. Judge says he is exonerated. Guy gets letter 300+ days later saying he is being charged after all and must return to court. I don't know what would validate the delay in such a simple case.  The evidence is there. Its very obvious what Guy should be charged for. Almost every case is done this way in my county (county is in California).

 

BTW, I asked around and this is a common practice for the people that are arrested and don't bail out, too. They are OR-ed without charges. Leave. Get letter in mail.

 

In this county there are a lot of vacation homes, in one City there are a lot of empty houses. There is a very large homeless population and a lot of addicts. They tend to squat in whatever bank-owned or empty house they can. plus there are a lot of areas that don't have mailboxes, only PO Boxes. Those that cant afford the PO Box share PO Boxes. It is hard for people like this to successfully receive important mail. When they don't get the "Surprise, we decided to press charges after all for your very obviously-chargeable case" letter they end up missing court and getting an extra charge. They get a warrant, are arrested later, then the prosecutor uses the extra charge of missing court as leverage.

 

The prosecutors know the demographic in this county. Also, 88% of the alleged offenders end up missing the court date that is assigned in the "Surprise you have charges after all" Letter.

 

They only send one letter. If they did bail out originally then there is still a possibility of missing the letter (since there are few jobs in this county and most people work out of the area) and getting a warrant. Which means new bail is posted if they get arrested on a warrant. Which means the likely working class individual now has to pay for another bail bondsman to get him out- being forced to post bail for the same event.

 

Also, if they don't press charges then its almost equivalent to a false imprisonment or something. The law enforcement can just go around arresting people and not charging them?

 

The whole thing seems wrong to me. Is this normal or legal practice on the side of the prosecutor?? I can imagine one or two delays here and there, but 90% of the cases shouldn't have the charges delayed for up to a year later or not get charged at all after being arrested. Does anyone else see an issue with this practice?

 

(Also, my fiances brother had left drugs in his car. He admitted it and turned himself in for the crime since. My fiancé gets drug tested all the time for work. Im asking about this because I the criminal system in this county/the DA's practice of delaying charges for nearly every case that comes before the court is strange and I think it might be an ethical issue.)  

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On ‎9‎/‎9‎/‎2019 at 8:40 AM, pg1067 said:

As I already told you, the prosecutor has until the statute of limitations expires to file charges.

 

 

What if they don't charge. Wouldn't it be considered false imprisonment? You cant just go around arresting willy-nilly without charging people (I would expect).

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On ‎9‎/‎9‎/‎2019 at 12:46 PM, Fuzzz said:

True. I made the assumption that if they are possessing a firearm, they would be possessing the felony level controlled substances. Even small quantities or personal use can be felonies depending on what is possessed.  It is likely that if it is marijuana or a low level schedule drug it would be at the misd level.

Things would be different/should be different in deciding when/if charges will be pressed if its a felony or misdemeanor?

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On ‎9‎/‎9‎/‎2019 at 8:40 AM, pg1067 said:

Your fiance committing another crime would not generally provide evidence of the crime for which he was arrested (and, of course, if you think your fiance is likely to commit crimes, why would you stay engaged to him?).

 

 

My fiances little brother left drugs in his car. his brother is known heroin addict. my fiancé gets drug tested for work. brother admitted to crime. charges no longer an issue for fiancé. BUT...i am concerned about the practice of the prosecutor. Since this is common practice and a very low income area in California. If people miss the letter and miss court bevcause they got charged a year later and didn't know it, they get a new charge. it gives the prosecutor leverage. Charges are delayed on 90% of the cases in this county (after offenders are arrested and booked)

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On ‎9‎/‎9‎/‎2019 at 8:40 AM, pg1067 said:

These questions make little sense.  People get arrested and then are not charged all the time for lots of reasons.  It's not like the cops refrain from making arrests until they are sure that the prosecutor will file charges.

 

not all the time. usually when its an open/shut case (for example, finding meth on the person of the offender, or finding a gun on a convicted felon, or finding a gun with filed off serial numbers on the person of an individual) there is no reason not to press charges immediately. what would possibly justify the delay?

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1 hour ago, Mmy said:

What if they don't charge. Wouldn't it be considered false imprisonment?

 

No (or not necessarily).  An arrest based on probably cause could not possibly be "false imprisonment."  That the prosecutor elects not to file charges has no bearing on that.

 

 

1 hour ago, Mmy said:

My fiances little brother left drugs in his car. his brother is known heroin addict.

 

Then your fiance is a fool to allow his brother anywhere near his car.

 

 

1 hour ago, Mmy said:
On 9/9/2019 at 8:40 AM, pg1067 said:

These questions make little sense.  People get arrested and then are not charged all the time for lots of reasons.  It's not like the cops refrain from making arrests until they are sure that the prosecutor will file charges.

 

not all the time.

 

You say yes; I say no....

 

"All the time" means that it's not an uncommon occurrence for a person to be arrested but eventually not charged.  Any discussion of the specifics about how frequently it happens in any given area would be way beyond the scope of this forum and would require extensive research.

 

 

1 hour ago, Mmy said:

usually when its an open/shut case (for example, finding meth on the person of the offender, or finding a gun on a convicted felon, or finding a gun with filed off serial numbers on the person of an individual) there is no reason not to press charges immediately. what would possibly justify the delay?

 

I don't really care to engage in a discussion of hypotheticals.  Feel free to call your county district attorney's office and see if one of the ADAs will speak in generalities with you.

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