1275 Hold Hearings — What Does it Mean?

A 1275 hearing is a proceeding where a person goes before a judge to explain where money for a defendant’s bail bond came from. A Judge will sometimes require various forms of proof showing where the funds initiated from, and that it came from sources that were legal.

The right to bail, is stated in/by the U.S. Constitution. As a matter of fact, the document goes even further, vis a vis the 8th Amendment, to ensure that “excessive” bail is banned and that “all fines shall be moderate.” That being said, there are a couple instances where bail can be withheld.

The first and most obvious, is the instance in which a defendant’s release from police custody would either:

A.) Pose a significant risk to the safety of the public, or

B.) The defendant poses a significant flight risk.

The other instance is applied to cases involving drug-trafficking or financial crimes. If the judge feels that the source of the money used to bail the defendant out may come from an illegal source, he or she can place a “1275 hold” on the defendant’s bail until certain requirements are met.

California Penal Code 1275.1 –  Requirements

The court can set conditions for a defendant’s bail if the court believes that the money used to bail out the defendant comes from illegal sources. In order to place a hold on a defendant’s bail, however, the prosecutor, police, or the court must file a declaration citing probable cause that money(s) used for the case by the defendant came from “ill-gotten means.”

This declaration, when and if filed, often shifts the responsibility to the defendant’s lawyer to provide evidence that the money planned to be used for bailing out of jail, was not obtained through criminal enterprise. The process is a lot like being audited by the IRS.

When a 1275 hold is placed and a hearing occurs, the judge will want to see a complete picture of the defendant’s financial situation, and that may often require a years’ worth (or more) of bank statements, paycheck stubs (if any), investments, real estate and/or any additional assets that the defendant holds.

“But I’m Just Trying to Bail Someone out of Jail, Your Honor”

If someone else is bailing the defendant out of jail, then the court will often require the financial information of that person as well. For example, if an individual is arrested and his sister decides to sell a vehicle in order to obtain bail money, the judge will want to see the paper trail leading from the beginning of the transaction to the end.

1275 hearings happen a lot, and can often result in the defendant being granted bail. They may seem scary, but at their core, a 1275 hold is just a case where the court wishes to see the financial information of a defendant and/or the parties involved in their bail so that they can ensure the money comes from a legitimate source.

Most of the time, a defendant’s bail may only be delayed only a few days as the court proceedings occur. Cases in which things can get trickier may involve large organized crime syndicates or other vast criminal conspiracies that can make identifying the source of the defendant’s income extremely difficult, thus lengthening the process significantly.

The Bail Bond Process and 1275 Holds

The bail bond process is daunting enough when it comes down to the logistics and minutiae of it.  So when someone starts asking about your personal family finances, bank accounts, credit card debt, house payments and income it’s natural to want to protect that information. However, in the bail bond process, this information is what is looked upon so closely.

So it’s always best to remember, when divulging any personal financial information to bail yourself or someone else out of jail, “It’s the truth that will set you free.”