California citizens have constitutional rights as well as state privileges that protect them from unreasonable arrest. How an arrested individual gets out of jail varies widely from one situation to another, and it is sometimes impractical or extremely difficult to arrange an immediate release.
While it is more widely known for the clause on cruel and unusual punishment, the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is one of the most relevant documents to this discussion. Its section on bail states that the amount set to acquire the release of an accused individual must not be excessive. This rule, along with some state laws, could determine how difficult it is to get out of jail.
FindLaw's section on what to do after being arrested covers the subject in more detail. The article addresses one of the most common points of confusion, namely bail money. Bail is either a pre-set or adjudicated amount of money that a court holds to ensure that an individual appears at court. Individuals who have the money and intend to appear for their hearings often pay full bail, as the court refunds bail money or relinquishes rights to collateral once an arrested person fulfills the terms of the agreement.
In California, arrested people might also be able to gain release on their own recognizance. These types of OR releases are discretionary. Additionally, according to California Law, personal recognizance releases would require the arrested person to do the following:
- Waive extradition under certain conditions
- Agree to appear when and where the court requests
- Agree to remain in California unless an official order expressly permits travel
- Promise to obey additional conditions
- Acknowledge an understanding of relevant consequences of violating the release terms
State law places several limitations on an accused individual's ability to secure OR release. The paperwork involved could also form an obstacle for those not familiar with the system. Even in light of these difficulties, this method of release is often the most preferable option — assuming it is available.