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Arrest, Jail, Bail: How the Process Works

Arrest, Jail, Bail: How the Process Works

Once a defendant is arrested, if he or she is not cited out, he or she is taken to a holding jail. Once he or she is processed by the holding authority (state, county or federal), the defendant is given a chance to make a phone call. Most jails only allow one phone call, so the defendant will call a family member or a friend. The defendant should give the family member or friend the following information: full legal name, social security number, the exact charge, the name of the holding facility, what type of facility it is (state, federal, or county), the type of bond, and the amount of the bond.

Bail Bonds
Sometimes known as “jail bail,” a surety bond is a contract guaranteeing the appearance of the defendant in all scheduled court hearings and pays the premium on the bond (usually 10 percent, but this may vary in different states, different surety companies, or even for different bonds, i.e. federal or non-federal bond). The family member or friend is now a cosigner on the bail bond and is responsible for full amount of the bond if the defendant skips bail.

The bondsman will then complete his paperwork and go to the holding facility. The paperwork is turned over to the officer on duty, who then reviews the bond and decides if the defendant should be released into custody of the bondsman (this is almost always granted). The officer signs off on the bondsman’s paper work and takes copy, returning the rest to the bondsman. The defendant is then released into the custody of the bondsman, who then releases the defendant to a family member or friend.

If the jail bail bond is a property bond, or if it is a surety bond requiring property as a guarantee, the bondsman will also complete that paperwork, including placing a lien on the property. Once the defendant completes his or her requirements and the case is over, the bond is released and, if there is a lien on any property, the lien is released.

Skipping Bail
If the defendant skips bail, the bondsman contacts his or her bounty hunters. Different states have different time frames for re-apprehension before the bond becomes due. Some states give the bounty hunter as few as three days, while others will give the bounty hunter as long as a year to apprehend the defendant and return him or her to police custody. If the defendant is not turned in within the designated time period, the surety company will collect the amount of the bond from the bondsman, who will then collect the money from the cosigner or the defendant. If there is a lien on property to secure the bond, the bondsman will start foreclosure proceedings on the property.

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