Bail is not required for everyone arrested. It is decided by the judge at a bail hearing, by using the crime you’re being charged of, your references, criminal history and overall flight risk to determine if you are eligible for bail and how much it will be for. The entire bail process begins once you have been arrested and get a defense attorney. At this point, the court is gathering paperwork on you, running a background check and your attorney is contacting your friends, peers, loved ones and employers to find out fi you are at risk of running, if you were to be released on bail.
The Bail Hearing
The first step to the bail process is the bail hearing, or arraignment. This will be performed within days after your arrest. It is possible it occurs the next day if you were arrested during the week. However, if you were arrested during a holiday or weekend, expect a few days delay. Before the arraignment, you should already be providing your defense attorney with names and numbers of your references. These are character witnesses that help to prove you are not a flight risk and should indeed get bail.
You and your attorney cannot defend your case during the hearing. The point of the hearing is to bring the charges against you and decide on bail. If the judge decides you get bail, which allows an early release until your next court appearance, they will also determine how much. This is also dependent on the above criteria. The bail amount can be $1,000, $100,000 or anywhere in between.
Once the judge determines how much bail is set for, you contact your friends or loved ones to let them know you have gotten bail. But before you can be released, they need to find the money to pay for your bail. They can either use their own funds, sell something to make the money, use a credit card, or get a bail bond. If they arrive in jail with cash or credit card, you can be released within the hour. If a bail bond is being acquired, you might have a few hours before the paperwork is completed and you are able to leave the jail.
If cash is paid, this step in bail is something you don’t need to expect or be prepared for. However, higher amounts of bail can be hard to come up with. In this case, they only need to have 10% of the bail amount as a fee for the bail bonding agent. The agent will collect this fee, get information on you for the bonding contract, and pay the court the remainder of the bail, promising they will keep an eye on you and you are not at risk for disappearing.
You and the co-signer of the bail bond must keep in contact with the bail bondsman and you need to appear for your court appearances, otherwise you can be held accountable.