You've probably seen parts of a trial on TV, maybe also the moment of someone's arrest, but less familiar is the process that takes place between the person getting handcuffed and the trial, which might not take place until a year or more later. What happens between the arrest and the trial? Who decides whether a suspect is released during the pendancy of their trial? Will they need to "post bail?" How much will it be? What's a bail bondsman?
After a criminal suspect is arrested, the next steps in the case are the processing of the person into police custody ("booking"), and a determination of his or her eligibility for release from custody in exchange for the posting of a set amount of money ("bail"). Read on to learn more about how booking and bail work.
Booking and Bail Basics
Booking refers to the process of collecting information about the suspect who has been apprehended. This typically includes taking a photograph and fingerprints, as well as collecting the person's identifying information such as their name, address, and other details that permit the identification of the person. Booking procedures are relatively standard and vary little between suspects.
Bail refers to money deposited with the court in order to help ensure that the suspect does not flee the jurisdiction and appears at future court cases. Bail and bond conditions can vary greatly depending on the jurisdiction, the charges at issue, and details about the suspect.
A detained suspect can present evidence at their bail proceedings to determine whether bail is required, whether it will be denied altogether, or to set the amount that would be required.
Questions About Booking and Bail? Talk to an Attorney
The booking and bail process can be complicated and it can come and go more quickly than you think. It's critical that you understand your options in the process. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney near you who can walk you through this process and advocate on your behalf.