Would you know what to do if you received a call from a friend or relative telling you that they were arrested? Hiring a criminal defense attorney or arranging for bail is not something most people are accustomed to doing, so understanding the court process and the roles played by criminal defense attorneys and bail bonds agents will help.
Following an arrest, the accused person is booked by the police. Booking involves taking fingerprints and pictures (mug shots), and recording personal information of the arrested person.
If the crime that the person is arrested for is a bondable offense, then the standard bond is assigned. It is at this point that the defendant can have their bond posted. The defendant is then set for first appearance court where they will face a judge for the first time. If a bond is posted prior to this court appearance then the hearing is canceled. If the bond is not posted then the magistrate will conduct a first appearance hearing. During the defendant’s court appearance, a judge informs the person of the charges against him. The court will review the probable cause affidavit and hear argument from the state and a public defender regarding bond.
The purpose of bail is to secure the accused person’s attendance at future court proceedings. The seriousness of the charges filed, and the accused person’s ties to the community are two factors judges use to decide the amount of bail.
The best way to help a person accused of a crime is to contact a criminal defense attorney early in the proceedings. The attorney will represent the accused person’s interests at all stages, including the setting of bail. An experienced criminal defense attorney is knowledgeable of the laws and appellate court decisions dealing with bail. The defense attorney knows the factors to bring to the attention of the judge to obtain the accused client’s release without bail, or with lower bail than normally would be imposed by the judge.
Once bail is set, the attorney will guide the friends or relatives of the accused person through the process of posting the bail. Bail can either be posted by paying the full amount of the bail with the court or by retaining the services bail bonds company. If you are going to post the bond via a bail bonds company then it is important to hire a reputable and reliable bail bonds agent. A bail bonds agent will post the bail to obtain the person’s release, and becomes responsible for assuring the court that the person will return for all scheduled court appearances.