We have seen it on TV a million times. A character on your favorite show gets arrested and they are able to post bail or be released on their own recognizance almost immediately. But how exactly does that work?
Here is a step-by-step guide to bail bond process:
Step 1: Booking
Unfortunately, if you need to post bail, it means you or a loved one has been arrested. The arresting officer will make a record of your arrest, recording your name, address, appearance and the crime you are accused of.
The officer will then run a criminal background check on you, take your mugshot and fingerprints, and take an inventory of any personal property you have on your person at the time of the arrest. You will likely also be tested for drug use. After the booking process, you will be escorted to a cell.
Step 2: Setting Bail
Depending on the nature of the crime and the financial means of the accused, a judge will typically grant bail. Sometimes you can post bail immediately after being processed at the jail. This depends on the time of day and the nature of the crime, of course.
A judge will decide how much the bail will be in any particular case. Again, the amount of bail can vary greatly depending on the mood of the judge, the attitude of the accused and, mostly, the nature of the crime. While the 8th Amendment is meant to protect U.S. citizens from excessive bail, judges have been known to ignore it from time to time, especially if the judge considers the accused a flight risk.
In some cases, you can be released on your own recognizance, which means no bail is necessary and the court trusts you will return for your court date if you have no criminal history and you live and work locally. This should be your main goal.
Step 3: Posting Bail
Once the bail amount has been set, the only way to get out of jail is to pay the full amount of bail in cash, buy a bail bond, or post real estate as collateral. Buying a bail bond is by far the most popular choice. This is where a bail agent comes in.
A bail bond is purchased from a bail agent for a small fee, usually 10 percent of the bail amount. This fee is nonrefundable. Once the fee is paid and the paperwork filled out, the bail agent will post the bail on behalf of the defendant and file the paperwork with the court. Make sure to contact a bail agent as soon as bail is granted. Free At Last Bail Bonds is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Step 4: Freedom ... Sort Of
You will now be released from jail until the court proceedings finish or the charges are dropped. But you are far from free while out on bail. Your travel will be greatly restricted and there are a number of things that can lead the court to revoke bail at any time.
Of course, with any criminal proceeding, it is important to speak with an attorney before making any decisions related to your case. If you have been arrested, you should consult an attorney immediately. Free At Last Bail Bonds is here to help you and your family through this tough time. Contact us today at 404-577-BAIL with any questions. One of our licensed bail agents is always ready to help.