What is the Booking and Bail Process?

A lot of people who are arrested go into panic mode- not fully understanding their rights, the booking process, and all the available options and outcomes. It can seem like a daunting and confusing process, yet with a little guidance, and some helpful information, you can relax and trust that you’ll be out of this uncomfortable situation soon enough, and back on your feet.

The Possible Outcomes

There are just about three possible outcomes for any person being arrested. These are:

  • The arrestee is released without the need for bail
  • The arrestee is charged and released on bail
  • The arrestee is charged and kept in custody until arraignment or until the case comes to a close.

What many arrestees don’t realize, is that they can actually still qualify for release on bail at almost any stage in their case, pre-conviction. This means as soon as immediately after being arrested, as well as after the court has issued your sentence, and right up until your arraignment. If securing bail is the issue, don’t fret, you have time to get the money together or work with a Bail Bonds Agency that can help cover the costs.

Booking Procedures

Now, what happens directly after being put in handcuffs and swept off to the local county jail? The process that follows any arrest, is called the Booking. This booking breakdown may help you to understand the ensuing steps once you arrive at the jail and the legitimacy behind this process.

  • Photos are taken
  • Recoding of personal information (name, date of birth, height, weight, nationality, etc)
  • Fingerprints are taken
  • Personal possessions checked in and stored
  • Health evaluation
  • Arrestee is placed in temporary detainment/ holding cell

After this process, State law determines exactly which holding option will apply to the arrestee in their given situation and circumstances. For example, smaller offenses such as disorderly conduct and larceny may be dismissed or qualify for immediate release without bail. Other more serious offenses such as armed robbery, domestic violence, or assault cases will likely require bail to get the offender out of serving time before arraignment, or the offense could be severe enough to not qualify for bail.

Posting Bail

At this point, if the arrestee is given the option to post bail, an amount will be decided upon and posted, and the person under arrest can then decide which options to take. If the posted bail is within their financial possibility, the arrestee can essentially pay right then and there and free themselves. If the amount is out of their budget, the next step is to either contact friends and family for financial support, or get in touch with a bail bonds agency that will front the bail, and enter into a bond agreement that will still cost about 10% upfront of the overall set bail amount. This second option (working with an agency) is the fastest and surest way to get bail posted, get yourself out of jail, and get back to your life.

After Release

Although bail has been posted, and you find yourself free from the constricting confines of a jail cell, you still have commitments to uphold- both financial and judicial. You will have a period of time between your release and your arraignment. Make good use of this time by securing a good attorney, try to uphold your job (or schooling), and work with your loved ones, friends or hired help to ensure your family is taken care of should your case end in a conviction (if you have children, that is). Cover your bases, set yourself and your family up financially, and practice patience during this cumbersome process.

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