How The Bail Bonds Process Works
The aftermath of an arrest can be a difficult time. After you have been put in jail and your freedom is taken away from you, it is not uncommon to start brainstorming the next legal step to take, at least to regain your freedom.
If you are caught in the loop of this thought process, rest easy knowing that all hope is not lost, irrespective of the offenses for which you have been arrested.
Below are some of the important information you should be aware of if you or a loved one has been arrested.
What Happens After An Arrest Has Been Made?
For people who are getting arrested for the first time, the entirety of the process involved may come across as confusing. It is understandable that you may be feeling a lot of emotions in that instant and in most cases, you may have lost the mental capacity and preparedness to make the best decisions.
After an arrest, the arresting officer will book the offender and take them to jail. However, depending on the offense, the arrested person may not have to stay there if they can be bailed out. It is important that during this time, through processing and other related documentation, the arrested party should refrain from saying or doing things that may later be used as evidence against them or that may complicate the charges cited against them.
Officers, during the booking process, will request important information like the offender’s name, address, photograph, fingerprint, and also file paperwork containing the charges brought up against the defendant. The police will also take account of all the valuable items in the arrested person’s possession and take those items for safekeeping pending their release.
The arrested person is then arraigned before a judge after the booking process. Usually, the arraignment process should hold within a period of 24 hours. However, for arrests that were made over the weekend, the defendant will be made to wait until the official opening of the court on Monday to see a judge.
The arraignment process is when the court files charges against the offender, and a judge decides on the defendant’s bail application.
When Bail Comes Into The Equation
Bail is a legal way for defendants to regain their freedom while their case is pending in court. During the arraignment, the judge sitting on the case may deem it fit to grant bail, which is basically an exchange of money for the defendant’s freedom.
Bail is the amount of money that is required by the court to set a person free. If the person is unable to come up with the set amount, such a person is remanded in jail until their next court date.
There are different types of bails, and unless a judge specifically requests a cash bail, there are options that can be explored including;
People who can afford the amount that has been set as bail can pay it directly to the court to secure their release. In most cases of cash bails, the defendant is expected to pay no less than 35% of the amount set according to the state’s laws.
For cash-only bail, the defendant, family, or friends are required to produce the amount in cash or they can pay using a secured credit or debit card in exchange for the release of the defendant.
However, cash bail bonds can be a problem, especially if the amount set by the judge is high due to factors like repeat offenses, flight risks, and more. Not to mention, why would a defendant want to put up the full bail amount when they have options to pay just a fraction of the amount with the use of a bail bonds provider?
Recognizance bail is one wherein the judge is satisfied with the standing of the defendant in the society and feels they will honor their court dates. This type of bail does not have a penalty attached to it other than the belief that the defendant is responsible enough to keep to their court dates. This is a rare one to achieve and happens most for first time offenders on small charges, or those who have no possible way of fleeing the area before their day in court.
Surety bonds are those bail bonds that can be secured with the help of bail bondsmen. The select bail bond agent will come up with the required 35% of the bail amount and the defendant and their loved ones are required to pay a percentage as a service fee to the bail agent.
The defendant is entitled to receive the 35% down payment made to the bail bonds agent in the aftermath of the case, however, the percentage service fee is non-refundable. For most bondsmen this service fee ranges from 3% up to 10% of the total bond amount.
What Can I Do If I Have Been Arrested?
When you have been arrested, it is important to try your best to keep a level head and attitude while you are going through processing and holding. Once you have been given a set bail by a judge or court magistrate, you may begin to seek the help of a bail bondsman and an attorney to help make sure that you are released from jail while awaiting trial and are able to build a firm legal case to support your standing.