The Christmas season is in full swing. Every radio station is playing our favorite Christmas songs. The malls are packed, our neighborhoods are decorated with wonderful light displays and nativity scenes. But something is missing. Yes, something IS missing. It’s the loved one who is incarcerated at the Rappahannock Regional Jail, or some other fine Virginia institution that houses inmates who are being held prior to trial. Hopefully, they have a reasonable bond that loving family members could post if they choose to do so. There is usually a good reason why they haven’t chosen to post the bond so far. That’s right. You got it. It’s usually heroin. Mom and Dad love you, Grandpa and Grandma miss you, but they want to give you enough time to get clean. They’d rather have you in jail where you are safe than in the cemetery where you are dead. But as the day that we celebrate the birth of Jesus gets closer and closer, many of my clients add bail bond to their Christmas list. Without fail, I will be at the jail Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning making sure that your loved ones are home for the holidays. God bless you, and Merry Christmas!
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Somebody help me understand. You are driving on a revoked license because you failed to pay your last speeding ticket, you stopped in at the bar with your friend Larry who just got paid and is showing his friendship by buying you shots of Jägermeister… (a better friend would give you the money toward your fines). More friends show up and you get caught up in the moment and decide to drive Larry and the two girls you just met to the party you were just invited to: “Follow Us” they said! Down I95 you go trying to keep up with the knucklehead you are following and by the time you see the State Trooper sitting in the Authorized Vehicle turnaround, it’s too late. He clocks you doing 101 MPH! Well that sounds bad but try doing the speed limit (70MPH) on I95 and it will seem like you are sitting still.
You don’t seem intoxicated, you have a little buzz but nothing that feels like a 0.15! You can’t believe it but you are under arrest for DWI, Driving on a Revoked License, Reckless Driving, and Failure to Obey a Law Enforcement Command. It’s kind of hard to pull over right away when your are doing 101MPH… By the time I met this 21 year old young man to post his $3000.00 bond, he was stone cold sober, a bit ashamed, very remorseful fretting mostly about how his parents will react to his wild night out on the town. Thank GOD no one was hurt or killed. Here is a little food and wine for thought. In Virginia ABC stores top ONE BILLION DOLLARS in yearly sales. I know, you are probably shocked, I was! You don’t need a license to buy alcohol, no class required, no education attached to the purchase and use of alcohol, you simply need to be 21 years old. You need a license to own a dog, own a gun, to hunt, to operate a business, to babysit the neighbors child on a regular basis, to sell cars, insurance ETC. You get the picture, our cars are required to have seat belts, (we are required to wear them) airbags, catalytic converters, inspections, emission inspections but no interlock device or breathalyzer device to insure we are sober before we drive. It would be easy enough to do and you would definitely feel better about your kids driving… it would eat into the State’s alcohol sales but… hey.
Ways to Get Arrested # 5
You have seen them before, little plastic boxes with the days of the week stamped on the compartments, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, you know we put our pills in there so we can organize our medication. Or if you’re a guy you just slip a couple of prescribed vicoden into your pocket in case your tooth starts to bother you. Last night I helped a fellow get out of jail for possession of Drugs/Schedule 1 or 2 because his pain medication fell out of his wallet when he was producing his license for a traffic stop. Oh yea he’ll probably produce his prescription at his trial and his charges will be dismissed but he still went to jail, have at least 2 court dates and have the arrest: not conviction, on his criminal history. Calling a bail bondsman and paying the $100.00 will seem like a sweet dream compared to what comes next.
He was placed on pretrial supervision, it is kind of like pre-conviction probation. It sort of flies in the face of the presumption of innocence and is arguably one of the driving factors in the alarming and unprecedented and ever-increasing incarceration rate in America.
Pretrial service agencies started out as what seemed like a great and noble idea. In 1961, Russian born philanthropist Louis Schweitzer and magazine editor Herb Sturz (Open Society Institute) saw an opportunity through then Attorney General, Bobby Kennedy to alter the bail system in New York City. It appeared that many inmates of color were being held on bonds they could not or would not pay. We in the Bail Community know that very few people stay in jail because of money…they typically have burned every bridge they’ve crossed and no family member is willing to indemnify them. One of the huge problems with pretrial service agencies is the removal of family influence on the offender. To five you an idea of the toll the pretrial services act of 1982 has taken on America. In 1982 there were 139 people per 100,000 incarcerated in the U.S. As of 2009 there were 754 per 100,000…. More on this later.
In the end, these cases usually come down to a scenario that looks like this: Plead guilty to a felony and you will serve no jail time, 3 years probation, fines community service and a drug class. Plead guilty to a misdemeanor and get 1 year in jail,(misdemeanor time in Virginia is served at 50% so 6 months in jail) How this common practice in pretrial negotiations benefits the State or society is a mystery…Stay tuned to 101 ways to get arrested on the internet!
It all sounds innocent enough, your friend calls you up and asks you if you want to make some extra money. It’s Saturday morning and that is just what the doctor ordered. He tells you that his friend’s grandfather has a bunch of junk on his farm that he wants removed. We can take it to the dump or we can take it to the scrap yard and keep all the money we make from cashing in the scrap metal. You are all in! So you meet up with your friend, drive to the farm, roll down the driveway, pull up to the barn and get to work.
Old tractor rakes, plows, metal buildings that have fallen down, old engines, engine parts, rolls of electrical wire…you get the picture. $745.00 in cash for one hard days work feels pretty good right? Here is the problem: There is no “Grandfather” just a guy that suckered his buddies into helping him take scrap metal off a property he had no right to be on. My client was charged with 12 counts of grand larceny, obtaining money under false pretense and conspiracy to commit larceny. I posted a $1500.00 bond for my client and you can best believe that the Prosecuting Attorney is not going to be buying the “I was just trying to help out my friend and make a little money” story. As a matter of fact it is quite possible that during the full day of loading “scrap” metal you might have sensed that something wasn’t quite right about the whole scene. Later, when you are sitting in the back of a cop car, you would be sure of it.
Here’s a great way to get arrested! Here’s all you need to do. First you give a friend a ride to WalMart because you are a good neighbor and your friend told you she needed some baby supplies and she needed to return a item. You say sure, no problem: You walk into the store together, you even take a turn pushing the cart and go to the check out station together. In fact, you were with her the whole time except for when she filled the new “Baby Bag” she was purchasing with various other items she had no intention of paying for.
Here is what happened next. The cameras caught the entire visit on film, you were detained then placed under arrest for felony shoplifting (over $200.00 in value) taken to the local county jail where you prayed that you get a bond…or maybe pre-conviction (pretrial probation) probation.
But wait a minute! You didn’t have a blessed thing to do with this! You were just being a good Samaritan and now your facing a Felony charge. It’s not fair…but it happens every day in every WalMart in just about every town in America. Have questions? Send us a note on how you got arrested and maybe we’ll use your story in our updates! 101 ways to get arrested! Choose your friends wisely
The Science Behind Pretrial Services… Is it greed?
Two reports were released earlier this month: “Bail Fail: Why the U.S. Should End the Practice of Money Bail,” and “For Better or For Profit: How the Bail Bonding Industry Stands in the Way of Fair and Effective Pretrial Justice.” A final report is scheduled for release on September 25, and will provide first-hand accounts from Baltimore, Maryland residents’ experiences with the money bail system.
Both studies suggest that for-profit money bail is a problematic policy that is especially harmful to the poor and communities of color, and call for it to be eliminated.
The truth is that the Constitution of the United States gives us the right to bail that is not excessive. The founding Fathers never dreamed that there would be those so “progressive” (socialistic) that they would want to outlaw the unique provision of bail. Many in the progressive movement here in the U.S. advocate a replacement for bail in America. It is called pretrial services. Sounds harmless enough but it just might be the driving component behind the unprecedented incarceration rate in the U.S.
Pretrial Services began in 1964 when Louis Schweitzer, a Russian born paper magnate and philanthropist, began the Manhattan Bail Project. The idea was to let inmates who were indigent out of jail by placing them on a pre-conviction probation, called pretrial services. Although the practice flies in the face of the presumption of innocence, the idea gained the blessing and support of Bobby Kennedy…the rest is History:
In 1972, the National Association of Pretrial Service Agencies was incorporated. In 1973, the Speedy Trial Act was enacted allowing ten VERA type programs to be demonstrated around the U.S. In 1982, the Pretrial Services Act was signed into law. This act allowed for the proliferation of pretrial service agencies in every jurisdiction in the United States.
To give you an idea how devastating these programs have been to our nation, consider these facts.
In 1982, for every 100,000 people in the U.S. 139 of them were incarcerated. Twenty five years later in 2007, that number grew to 504 per 100,000 people. Currently, the U.S. has close to 2.5 million people in jail.