When someone has been arrested, they are usually quick to look for ways in which they can be released when they are waiting for trials. Bail bonds are the most commonly used ways of ensuring that a release of someone from jail is made possible. There is usually a preliminary hearing that usually takes place before the bail is issued which allows the defendant a chance to either plead guilty or otherwise. This is usually done because apart from the judge there is no one else who can set the amount of bail. This means that the preliminary hearing has to take place in order for one to be released on bail.
The federal government sets forth regulations on some aspects of bail such as the nature of crimes that are not eligible for receiving bail. Some examples of crimes that are not eligible for receiving bail are capital crimes and treason. The state has legislation set forth as well determining the minimum and maximum amount that can be set by the judge for particular types of crimes. A judge will then use their discretion on the bail amount depending on the nature of the crime, the defendant’s prior criminal history, and the flight risk of the defendant. In some cases the maximum bail amount will be set to try to dissuade the defendant from securing their release pending the outcome of the trial.
Once a suspect is detained they are booked into a jail or police station at which point the bail process can begin. The booking process includes positive identification of the suspect typically using fingerprints, documenting the inventory found on the defendant’s person, and reviewing the criminal history including warrants and aliases that could lead to further charges on the suspect. In some instances, such as misdemeanor and minor felony investigations, bail can be posted as soon as the booking process is completed with law enforcement personnel. In more serious crimes the suspect may have to wait up to 48 hours to have a bail hearing with a judge to determine the amount that must be paid.
If the arrestee fails to appear in court, the bail agent is required to pay the full bail amount. The bail agent locates the defendant and takes them back to jail. If the arrestee fails to appear for the court date any collateral signed over with the bond could be lost.