If you or a loved one gets into a situation in which they are arrested and being held in police custody, most likely your first thought will be bail. If you are like most individuals, you may not quite understand the whole process or what exactly happens when a person gets arrested, and what needs to happen in order to get them bailed out. You may find yourself a bit overwhelmed with the situation, and not know where to start.
If someone in your life decides that you are the one to receive that first phone call, you will need to know what you can do in order to help them. Many times, this phone call will occur at a time that is not during business hours, and the Internet may be your only source of information. The problem with that is that there is so much information on the Internet that it may be more harmful than helpful in such a situation.
We have put together an informative summary of the things you will need to know should you find yourself in this predicament. From start to finish, we’ll sum up the process from that moment that a person is taken into police custody to the time that they are released safely into your arms.
After a person is picked up by police for an alleged crime, they will be taken to a local law enforcement facility or jail and be held there while they are being processed. This involves everything from fingerprints and mug shots, to paperwork and phone calls. The police will be doing background checks on the person in question in order to search for outstanding warrants, criminal records, or any other red flags. The person will then be held in what is called a holding cell. This is a lengthy process and will not be pleasant for the individual as they are uncertain as to what will happen next. After all of this is complete, they are “booked.”
The individual in question will be given a trial date, and if they are eligible, they’ll be issued a monetary amount that will be suitable in order to be released while they await trial. This money is what we call bail. The reason that they are allowed to leave is because the court feels that the amount of money decided is enough to ensure that they will return at their court date, and not “skip bail.”
Bail amounts are usually quite large, and vary depending on the crime in question, whether or not it is the person’s first criminal offense, and how much of a flight risk the individual seems to be. Because bail can be any amount from $25,000 to as high as $1,000,000 and most people do not have that much money available, bail bonds were created.
A bail bond is basically a way for people to get their loved ones out of jail without having to put up such large amounts of money. The bail bondsman acts as a go-between, and is able to get people out of jail very quickly through knowledge and experience with the criminal justice system. Unlike banks, a bail bondsman takes the very high-risk chance of ensuring that these people will return to their scheduled court date.
A bail bondsman will trade anything from cash, cars, homes, personal property that can be assigned a significant value. They are then making a promise to the courts that they will make sure the court date is not missed. Often, there are requirements by the law that after the individual is released they must check in with either the bondsman, a local police department, or anyone assigned to keep an eye on them. Depending on the specific details of the agreement made, all or some of the money may be returned after trial.
Below you will find some frequently asked questions regarding bail bonds.
Q: What if my family member calls in the middle of the night? Does bail bondsman have strict business hours?
A: No. You won’t have to wait. Bail bonds professionals will take your phone call at any hour of the day, and any day of the week. They know that your situation is not an easy one, and they’ll be willing to help you 24 hours a day.
Q: How long will it take to get them out of jail?
A: The initial process of booking can take a few hours, but once you have been informed that they have been taken into custody you should call bail bondsman right away. They are very knowledgeable in the criminal justice field, and will be able to get your friend or family member released in a matter of hours as opposed to a matter of days.
Q: Will I get my bail money back?
A: This is a question that doesn’t have just one answer. It will depend on what type of deal you have worked out with the bondsman. If the individual in question does not adhere to the requirements of his/her release however, you will not get your money or personal property back. In some cases, people have lost homes, automobiles, and other items of value.
Q: I have bad credit, so how can I get bail money?
A: There are many options when it comes to trying to post bail. Some families have to team up in order to come up with the money needed to pay the portion required by the bail bonds professional. Others put up their homes or cars as collateral. Jewelry, rare items of value, and basically anything that can be appraised as valuable can be worked into the agreement. Having bad credit doesn’t necessarily have too much of an effect on getting a bail bond.