Do I need a lawyer to find inmate information in California?

Question: Do I need a lawyer to find inmate information in California?  My friend was arrested last night and I am trying to find out where he is and when he will be released.  Also, if he hasn’t, is it possible to get him out of jail, or is he going to stay there until his case is over?

Twin Towers Jail facility in Los Angeles County

Answer: An Attorney can help you with this, but it is possible to find them on your own as well if you want to do the research. There are some sites online that can probably help you with this.  Do you know what county he was arrested in?  That will make a difference in determing where he will be housed at.

Also, what was he arrested for?  DUI, battery, theft, drug charges…?  If he was arrested for a 1st DUI in Van Nuys for example, it is likely that he would be released within 4-12 hours after he is booked on what is called his “own recognizance,” which is a fancy term that generally means he promises to appear at his court date (or be represented by a Privately retained DUI Lawyer who will appear on his behalf).

If it was a more serious crime that he was arrested for, for example a felony charge, then the chances that he would have to post bail to get out of jail pending his court date is more likely.   The amount of bail would depend on what the charges recommended by the arresting agency would be.  The amount of bail can be argued at court if your friend is still in custody at the time of the first court date, called the arraignment.

Since bail can be quite high, many people use a bail bondsman.  Generally speaking, approximately 10% of the total bail amount is paid to the bail bondsman, and in turn the bail bondsman advances the full amount of bail to court.  If the defendant appears at the court dates as required by the court, then at the conclusion of the matter, the bail bondsman gets the bail back.  The approximately 10% you paid is kept by the bondsman as his or her fee for the services provided.

Although you do not necessarily need to hire an Attorney to find where your friend is housed and what the charge is, it is certainly a good idea to have a criminal defense attorney represent him in Court.  If you are hiring an attorney to defend him, they will generally find out all the information you are lookign for.

If your friend was arrested in Los Angeles County, feel free to call me at 818-336-1384 and I will help you locate where he is. Also, if arrested in Los Angeles County, go to the following website to find his location: Los Angeles Inmate Center