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Jim Reilly
Jim Reilly, Crim Defense Atty
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 1805
Experience:  CA Atty since 1976, primarily criminal law. 150+ jury trials.
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was arrested for contempt of court

Customer Question

I was arrested for contempt of court (because I missed a court date.) I was supposed to be in court for a restitution review. I was informed by a friend later that day of the missed court appointment and so I called the clerk the next day and was told to come in to court at 1pm. I came in to court and was arrested. I have no prior arrents or criminal record and there was a $3000 bond for me to get out of jail. At the pre trial I was told I would be in jail until someone paid the bond. I paid bond and was released. I have since been told that my bond money is goign to be used for restitution. Is this true? Please help.
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 9 years ago.
Have you been making restitution in accordance with whatever order the court made about it? In other words, are you in violation of the terms of probation or a deferred prosecution order of some kind?

Did you actually post a bond (that is, pay a premium for a bonding company to post the bond) or did you post cash bail?

If the former, your bond cannot be use for any purpose other than allowing you to remain out of custody.

If you posted cash bail, it is possible that they court might ultimately order you to make restitution out of the cash bail. How much restitution do you owe?
Jim Reilly and 3 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
i paid $3000 cash bond. I owe $2800 in restitution. I was ordered to pay restitution after having a car accident without insurance, i know that was a mistake, but i was unaware my coverage had lapsed. and i have insurance now. But I do not make much money and havent been paying because I can afford it. I had to use my school tuition money just to get myself out of jail, and I was hopign to get it back so I can finish my last semester of college, after I graduate I was planning on getting that restitution in order.
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 9 years ago.
You will have to address that with the court then, but the fact that your were not making payments in a timely manner will not sit well with the judge. If you explain the situation, it is possible that he may once again allow you to make payments, but frankly that seems unlikely unless you put at least a substantial part of the bail toward restitution (at least half, I would guess). The fact that your bail exceeds the amount of the restitution is going to make the court think you could in fact afford to pay restitution after all. If you were on a payment schedule, the court might be willing to allow you to catch up what was due without requiring you to pay the rest, but that's a longshot.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I was also wondering something else. The car that I was in the collision with is actually valued at a lesser price than the amount of damages that is received. So I was wondering if this is true, should I only have to pay the amount that the car is worth, and also would I then be entitled to the car since i paided its full value?
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 9 years ago.
What kind of charge were you originally sentenced on? You should not have been ordered to make restitution for more than the car was worth, but that should have been addressed at the time of the original order.

Also, the question of whether you could receive the vehicle should have been addressed at that time, as well. However, that is not likely, as the original owner had the right to use the money to repair the car, regardless of the amount of the restitution.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I went to court a few months ago for the restiution decision. I atteneded and I guess there was a new court date assigned without my knowledge as a review on the restitution payments, that was the court date i missed, and was arrested for contempt of court. My bond was $3000 which I believe was high becasue I talked to people in jail with me and his bond was $2000 for wanton endangerment/DUI.... I thought that was unfair, dont actually know if that would be a violation on my 8th amendment. any other advice you got for me, my new court date is for monday the 8th. do you have any advice on what I should say to the judge on my court date or what documents i should bring with me?
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 9 years ago.
Judges don't like it when you fail to appear (FTA) for court proceedings. It is not unusual for bail to be increased when you have done so. The fact that your bail was higher than that imposed on another for what might be considered a more serious crime is not an 8th amendment violation and certainly a bail of $3000 under these circumstances would not be considered excessive.

I'm not clear on whether the amount of the restitution was established when you were present or at the hearing you missed. If the latter, you should ask the court to reconsider when you go to court of the 8th. Even if it was set when you were present, there is no legal reason why you can't ask the court to reconsider on the basis that the restitution order exceeds the fair market value of the vehicle.

Also, you can bring to court with you anything that shows the value of the damaged vehicle (such as the current Blue Book, Auto Trader, or any other source of comparable for sale ads).

Then simply ask the court to modify the restitution order to reflect the fair market value of the vehicle.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
thanks for all your help so far, i just have another question if you would not mind answering it.

I was wondering if I could get a hold of his property tax records, would I only have to pay the amount that he pays for the car as listed on his tax record? I believe that I should not have to pay anymore than what he pays according to his taxes.
Expert:  Jim Reilly replied 9 years ago.
The tax records may or may not reflect the actual fair market value of the vehicle, which ought to be the determinative factor, though the tax records may be evidence that would be considered along with any other evidence in that regard (such as the things I mentioned in my previous post).