If a call came from a friend or relative asking for help because he had been arrested, would you know what to do? 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. After completion of the booking process, the arrested person is taken to court.
During the accused person’s court appearance, a judge informs the person of the charges against him. The judge also informs him of his rights, including the right to be represented by an attorney. This initial court appearance ends with the judge deciding whether to release the person from custody and the setting 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.
Judges have broad discretion in deciding whether to set bail, and the amount.
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.
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. Retaining the services of a reputable and reliable bail bonds agent will help to speed the accused person’s quick release. 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. The fee charged by bail bonds agents varies from state to state, and is a percentage of the bail posted. This bail bonds company website has a more comprehensive bail bonds guide you can download.