Bail vs ISAP.

I want to talk about a situation that comes up weekly. Let’s say someone you care about gets pulled over for a DUI and is taken to jail. (Lets call her Brandy) In a few days you show up at her bail hearing with the hope that Brandy can just get out and go back to work. As the morning goes on you hear lots of people with horrible stories. The person right before Brandy  had 42 warrants and a string of charges. Domestic assault by strangulation. Terroristic threat. Possession of drugs. Theft… All of which being repeat offenses. First thing that comes to mind is “WOW! She looks  like someone that works in a coffee shop”

Then the Judge says RPR (That means no bail) with the condition of drug testing on the color wheel and a no contact order.

After you pick your jaw up off the ground, you start thinking “Perfect. Looks like Brandy will get off easy.”  Next, you watch Brandy walk sheepishly to the stand.  The judge tells her that she is being charged with a DUI in the 3rd degree with 2 aggravating  factors. (Failure to submit to a field test and an alcohol  reading over .16.)  The prosecutor  chimes in with “This is a mandated $12000 bail or ISAP” Then the real surprise comes in. Brandy’s “Friend of the court” (temp lawyer assigned to her for the bail hearing) Says to the judge “We will except the states recommendation of $12000 or ISAP.” what? No argument? No fight on her behalf because it was her 1st one? No!  Just “We will except the states recommendation.”

Now you have a dilemma. What is ISAP and does it get Brandy out of jail without paying $1200 to Billy the bail bond guy? (a bondsmans fee is 10% of the bail)

The real truth about ISAP:

ISAP is an intensive alcohol monitoring program. IT IS NOT FREE. It costs $119 per week. You must pay 2 weeks in advance to get Brandy on the program. (That means $238 just to get Brandy out of jail and on the program) Payments continue until she reaches $1200 or $1500 pending on the situation.

WAIT!!!! I thought you said Billy the bail bond guy costs only $1200. (Thats right!)

It gets worse: Now Brandy must blow into a machine 3 times per day. Most people think “Easy. I can do that” The problem is that there are rules.

  • You can not test earlier then 7am or later then 11pm.
  • You must have at least 4 hours between tests. Maximum of 10 hours between tests
  • You must set a schedule that is permanent.
  • An alarm will go off when its time to test. You then have 5 minutes to test.
  • If you fail to test within the 5 minutes, you get a warning. If you fail a second time, you go to jail.
  • If you test positive, you go to jail.

It still gets even worse: Brandy needs to go in every week for more testing and to pay her $119. She cant drive so…

So how long does she do this for? Til the case is over. (DUI cases take 6-8 months minimum)

So what does this all mean to Brandy’s life? Well, what if she wants to work an 8-5 job? If she tests at 7am then goes to work, she needs to be home within 10 hours. 8-5 is already 9. That means she needs to test by 6pm. What if her job is 30 min away but she runs into traffic on the way home? How likely is it over a 6-8 month period that she will run into traffic or and accident or some other unforeseen obstacle at least once or twice? Remember. She isn’t driving. She is relying on friends and buses.


Moral of the story. Its cheaper and safer to pay the $1200.


One last concern. What if Brandy is an alcoholic and really needs monitoring? If that’s the case, she is actually better served to enroll in an inpatient alcohol program. She will be much better taken care of and will actually receive help not punishment.   Monitoring at home without outside help for a person that cant control their drinking is just begging them to fail. Failing on ISAP means back to jail and a much higher bail.

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