When someone gets arrested for a criminal charge, they are thrown into jail… at least for a while. Please keep in mind, he or she is still innocent until proven guilty.
Due to that fact, our government allows most individuals accused of a crime to “post bail”, so that the he or she doesn’t have to wait for their court date in jail. Without bail money, the arrested individual is going to have to sit behind bars for a while.
What is bail, how does the process work, and what else do you need to know?
In the simplest terms, bail is the amount of money that a person can pay in order to avoid sitting in jail until trial. Being at home with family and friends is much better than being in a dangerous jail with unfriendly cellmates.
Here is how the process happens, from arrest to your bail:
If arrested, you would first be taken down to the police station to be booked… and you get a few hours to think about what the heck just happened.
During this process, the arresting officer records all your personal details and the nature of your crime. You get a background check for previous convictions and you will undoubtedly be fingerprinted. Factors like previous arrests and your current criminal record play a role in the amount of your bail.
Your personal belongings are taken, and locked away securely. After a phone call and sobriety checks, you get to spend some time in a small holding cell.
For minor crimes, you will often be allowed to post bail immediately and do not have to spend time in prison. However, in other situations you might have to wait in the cell until you have an actual bail hearing
In your bail hearing, a judge determines the amount of your bail, or even if you will be getting the opportunity to bail yourself out at all! Individuals accused of crimes like homicide will usually not be allowed to post bail. Simple crimes, like shoplifting, will frequently result in a very low bail amount.
If all goes well, someone comes up with the money that you need (hopefully through a professional and esteemed bail bondsman) and you will be free to do as you wish until trial.
These are just the basics, but what matters is getting out of jail as quickly as possible, and to know that you’re in some good safe hands!