Most people have a general idea about the definition of bail, but do not learn about the process until an arrest takes place. Below is a simplified explanation of the process from beginning to end, which will almost certainly come in handy for people who are suddenly in a position to need bail for themselves or a family member.
When an individual is arrested and detained because he or she is a suspect in a crime, that person becomes a “defendant” and is transported to the local jail to be booked. A mug shot is taken as part of the booking process, and the alleged suspect will also be fingerprinted. While awaiting his or her day in court, the arrested individual will either be released on bail or detained in the jail.
The Bail Process
Bail is a financial agreement that is entered into by both the defendant and a bonding agent. The purpose of it is to allow the defendant to leave jail and live normally until the court date and to ensure that the defendant will appear in court on the appropriate date. The bail amount is set by the court and must be paid prior to the release of the defendant.
A judge typically reviews the case and sets the monetary amount for the bail, and this decision is based on various factors, including whether or not the defendant is a flight risk or a danger to other individuals in the community. Because it may take weeks or months for the case to come to trial, most individuals prefer to post bail.
There is no standard amount for bail, as each case is different from the last, but it is not uncommon for required bail amounts to reach several thousand dollars. This amount can either be paid in full by the defendant, or arranged through a bondsman, the latter of which is a person or corporation that will act as a surety and pledge money or property as collateral. In most cases, bail can be arranged within several hours of a person’s arrest.
Appearance in Court
A bail bondsman will typically present a check for the bond to the court on the incarcerated person’s behalf. Should the arrested individual fail to attend his or her hearing, the court has the legal right to cash the check from the bondsman. Only very few exceptions exist to this law, such as miscommunications with regard to the court date or unforeseeable emergency situations.
In addition, it is important to understand that a bail bondsman has a legal right to pursue a defendant who has fled and make them surrender to the courts. This is most often accomplished through the services of a bounty hunter. For this reason, most individuals who have been arrested prefer to appear at their hearing date and not make their situation worse by fleeing.
Bail can be arranged by a friend or family member or by the incarcerated individual. An attorney can also make bail arrangements on behalf of a client. Ultimately, the services of a bail bondsman are invaluable to anyone who has found himself or herself incarcerated and facing possible criminal charges.
Kyle Carter is an avid blogger and professional bail bondsman with C&K OKC Bail Bonds in Oklahoma City. Kyle is passionate about sharing information online through his blogs, on youtube, and provides local bail bonds services in OKC to the local community.