You hope never to experience a situation where you need to deal with bail, but accidents happen, and either you or a friend or family member can end up in handcuffs. If you experience this situation, you need to understand what your rights are, how the law affects you in these circumstances, and how to proceed.
If you follow our blog, you’ve already read about typical bail amounts for the most common crimes and about alternatives to bail, like personal recognizance. Hopefully, we’ve already answered some of your most pressing questions about situations that require bail.
However, you might still have a few questions about the arrest, charging, and bail processes, especially if you’ve never been arrested before. What happens during the booking process? Do you really get just one phone call? And what should you do if you get denied bail?
Below, we’ll answer these questions and a few more so you can go into any situation prepared, whether you’ve been charged with a crime or a friend needs you to contact a bail bondsman on his or her behalf.
What Happens During the Booking Process?
If you’ve ever watched a procedural cop show, you know the drill: after a police officer pulls you over and arrests you, he or she should read you your Miranda Rights. You will then be driven to jail and booked. But what does booking actually entail?
Once you arrive at jail, a police officer will record important personal information, such as your name and birthdate. He or she will also write down all the information about the alleged charge, including where it took place, what you allegedly did, and who else was affected.
As you know from television, you’ll also be photographed and fingerprinted. After your fingerprinting, the police officer will likely perform a database search to see if you’ve been arrested (and therefore fingerprinted) for any previous criminal charges.
Your personal property will be confiscated until you leave the jail, including your cell phone, wallet, and keys. As mentioned in a previous blog, the jail will even confiscate essentials like prescription medication, so make sure you’ve read our blogs and know your rights if you need medication (or have other extenuating circumstances) while in jail.
Finally, the police officer will place you in a holding cell until your judge determines if you are eligible for bail. Each bail is previously set dependent upon the charges.
When Do I Get My Phone Call?
Again, thanks to procedural TV shows, many people believe they’re entitled to a phone call after their arrest. However, getting a phone call (or more than one call) often depends on several factors, such as how the police viewed your reaction to the arrest and how severe your alleged crime was. State laws also affect when you can place a phone call and how many you can make.
You don’t need to worry that you’ll squander your phone call by trying to reach someone who isn’t at home. Many jails will allow you to place calls to several family members and friends who need to be aware of your situation and can help you figure out your bail.
Bear in mind that most officers view using the phone as a privilege, not a right-they can take that privilege away if you become aggressive in any way. While the Constitution guarantees that a lawyer can represent you, this doesn’t mean you’re entitled to place a phone call to a lawyer right after your arrest.
How Does a Judge Set Bail?
As you know from our other blog posts, some common crimes are assigned set bail amounts, which help you get out of jail as quickly as possible.
Although the Constitution states that a judge can’t set your bail at an “excessively” high cost, most courts interpret this to mean that the courts can’t use bail to either punish you or to raise money for the government. Unfortunately, under this interpretation, judges are still free to set bail at a high cost that makes it almost impossible for some individuals to get out of jail on bail. At this point, there are certain crimes that are not eligible for bail, including murder.
Why Wouldn’t a Judge Set Bail?
In some cases, you might be denied bail entirely. This shouldn’t happen if you’re a first-time offender accused of a common crime like driving under the influence. However, judges can deny bail in the following circumstances:
- If they believe you have a high flight risk
- If you’ve been accused of a severe crime, including a crime where someone else was injured or killed
- If you are not a legal US citizen
- If the judge believes you pose a threat to the public
For instance, Lakeisha Holloway, the woman who intentionally drove her car onto a crowded Las Vegas road and killed one person, was held without bail in Clark County, Nevada after being charged with murder.
What Should I Do If I Have Further Questions?
Your bail bondsman at All Star Bail Bonds can answer any questions you have after he or she pays your bail bond. You can also talk to your lawyer about the charge, about the way police officers treated you during your arrest and booking, and about the steps you should take after you appear in court.
To learn more about the bail bond process and how a bail bondsman can benefit you, read through the rest of our blogs & give us a call today.