Paris Hilton’s Brother Makes 20K Bail After DUI – What’s Fair 4 Bail?

Posted on Feb 13, 2008 in Celebrity Justice, Courts, DUI/DWI

paris-hilton-celibate.jpgBarron Hilton, Paris Hilton’s kid brother, got busted for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) early yesterday morning — the time of his Malibu arrest was 8:05 a.m.  Seems Barron took a breathilizer (did he check with his lawyer first? I doubt it) and blew a .14 (.08 is the legal limit)In the car with him, an unidentified girl and a fake ID.   Sounds like Barron had a wild night, right?

Barron spent the day in jail, and around 6 pm  that evening, he was released after posting $20,000 bail.  So, what’s bail — and what’s a fair bail amount?

Bail is security that is placed before the court (usually in the form of money) that guarantees the return of the arrested person to the courtroom on a certain date.   Fail to show, and the security is forfeited.

The judge decides how much security should be required to insure the defendant’s return.  He “sets” the amount of bail, and then when the security is provided to the clerk’s office, the bail is “posted.”

Bail bondsmen are notorious for making big profits, setting up offices near to jails and negotiating with arrested folk and their families for the bonding company to put up the security for the arrested person and get him out of the gray-bar hotel.  For a fee.

A contract is signed between the bonding company between either the arrested person or someone helping them out.  The Bail Bondsman may require just that signed contract to post the bond — but they may require more.  Loved ones often put up houses, cars, jewelry, stocks, or other assets as additional collateral to satisfy the Bail Bondsman and get the arrested person out of jail.

And yes, they’ll lose that security if the loved one skips town (“jumps bail’) — just as the bail bondsman will lose the bond he posted on behalf of the guy.  (Memories of Dog the Bounty Hunter chasing down skippers on his television show come to mind.)

So, the key comes down to the amount of the bail.  There can be big fights in the courtroom as prosecutors and defense attorneys argue over the appropriate amount.  The security needs to be high enough that it discourages the arrested person from blowing off coming back to court — the risk of losing the security is bigger than the risk of showing up to face the charges.

But, it should be reasonable enough to serve the purpose of allowing the arrested person the opportunity to gain his freedom from jail while charges are pending.  Innocent folk shouldn’t have to spend time behind bars, right?

Now, about Paris Hilton’s brother.  Do you think $20,000 serves the purpose for bail in Barron Hilton’s situation?  Yeah, right.

Barron’s not gonna skip his April court setting because of this token bond.  He’ll show because he lives in Malibu and he doesn’t want to deal with additional arrest warrants for failing to appear — not because he’s worried about losing 20K.�

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