Please walk me through the process of getting arrested, booked and posting bail?

I was reading this little blurb on some recommended changes Maryland is considering in regulating bail bondsmen, and I realized I have almost no idea what these guys really do other than guarantee in some form or fashion that you will show up at trial. I didn’t even realize there were two kinds of bail bondsmen. I realized further, that if I did get arrested someday, I really had no idea about how the whole, arrest, booking, detention, bail thing really worked other than what I have seen on TV cop shows, and they really don’t deal much with the adminstrative end of things.

Not to be too much of a simpleton re these issues, but I’ve never been arrested, (though I have come close) and I am curious how the process works. How does the process usually go from an adminstrative point of view, from arrest all the way to posting bail? What happens when the justice system gobbles me up?

I know a little. I had to bail my son out once.( His hair was too long :)) I had a little difficulty after a halloween party in 1986 & I had a dialysis patient who was a bail bondsman.
The Bail Bondsman is the guy you give 10% of whatever the judge declares the bail to be. My son’s Bail was $10,000 so I had to wire the Bail Bondsman $1000. You don’t get it back. If one had the $10,000, he could post that with the court, and after going to court and being declared innocent, would get it back.
So basicly, the Bondsman posted the $10,000 & put my $1000 in his pocket. If my son hadn’t showed up, the guy would come looking for me for the full amount. On the whole, I believe Bail Bondsman are, in general, bottom feeders of the worst kind. The one I took care of had 6 gold capped teeth with diamonds embedded in them. He pointed a gun at me once because I hurt him. But I digress…

Being arrested is simple you do something bad. The blue guys come to get you.
I was stopped for reckless driving/DUI I saw the lights in my mirror. I pulled over. The CHP put his big flashlight in my face, and asked if I had been drinking. I don’t remember what I said [sub]I was very drunk at the time[/sub] Next he had me get out of the car. He had me stand on one foot, touch my nose, pat my head & rub my tummy. Anyway the last thing he asked me to do, was to turn around and put my right hand behind my back. Next thing I knew, I had Handcuffs on :eek:
They were exceptionally nice to me, but my experience is not the norm.
They took me to jail. The matron at the jail was not as nice. “Hands on the red line.” I’m 5’4" the line was at about oh, 12’. I was flat against the wall and she slammed me in the back and repeated her request. Luckily the CHP’s were still there and kept her on a leash. I was then photographed, finger printed, and had my blood drawn. then into a large cell. Alone, thank Od. Another woman joined me just before I was released to the custody of my San Diego Police officer next door neighbor. :smiley:
I was given a court date. I found a lawyer. I paid the Lawyer lots of money. I paid the court lots of money. I spent lots of money on How Not to Drive classes. I was on probation for 10 years. I never got behind the wheel after drinking again.

So, in order: 1.Do bad thing 2. Meet Tall grim guys dressed in dark blue. 3. Wear uncomfortable jewelry, behind your back. 4.Ride in the back seat of of a car with no handles that smells vaguely of several different body fluids. 5. Have your picture taken. 6. Get your hands dirty. 7. Give everything that defines you, away to a brown envelope. 8. Go to a “room” with a metal door with no handle on the inside, that has a low (and high) shelf with a thick narrow quilt[sub](or maybe it was a long flat pillow)[/sub] and a toilet. 9. Call one person. If you’re lucky that person will call Oily Sam the Bail Bondsman. 10. Go to court with you lawyer… say nothing. 11. Pay lots and lots of money for a long time. Unless, of course, your “Bad Thing” was a REALLYbad thing. Then you get to stay in the little room.

The drill as I generally know it:

• Arrest

• Handcuffs

• Frisk for weapons

• Into the backseat

• Miranda warnings - a brief speech, or handed a card to read; I did have one cop say, “And you know all that bulls**t about rights.”

• Transport to jail, listen in on cop radio

• Arrive at intake center, more in-depth search, personal items (wallet, belt, glasses, watch, etc.) removed and inventoried, handcuffs removed, placed in holding tank, shoot the sh*t with cellmates and wait to be booked

• If neccesary, breathalyzer

• Called out to booking; give personal info to the data cop, get fingerprinted, smile and say “Cheese.”

• The trail trifurcates here – you may just go to a holding cell, if a detective or investigating officer wants to talk to you, you may be escorted to an interrogation room, or, if they’ve decided to charge you, you may be taken to a hearing before a judge.

• One way or another, you wind up back in the jail’s cellblock, possibly in a cell or possibly in another holding tank

• Now’s the time for phone calls. You may be escorted, upon asking, to a phone in the holding center. One place (New Orleans) just had a payphone in the holding tank. I had one quarter and got my lawyer’s numb-nut 15 year old punk rocker babysitter who wouldn’t take a collect call

• Depending on how long it takes to get you sprung, you may get to sample jail cuisine. My experience has been that they desire that you not die of starvation, and will thus provide the minimum bologna sandwich (mayo? who you kiddin’?). The food gets better the deeper you get into the system

• Your phone calls get you out of the place. I was never in a place where I could use the phone and see the bail bondmans’ signs at the same time. And, I just never mustered up enough dedication to criminal life to memorize the numbers beforehand. Anyway, I did wind up using them a couple of times – once I called a lawyer who set it all up, and once I called a relative - that time the bondsman’s representative met me right outside of Property (where you have to sign a receipt for your personal property before you’re allowed to see what they haven’t stolen). He wanted me to sign some additional guarantees.

• This almost never happened to me, but at the time of my most regular visits to local lockups, it was common knowledge that if you couldn’t muster bail in 48 hours or less, you were going to County. County was called a jail, but it was somewhere between a nightly lockup and a prison.

Anyway, it’s been decades since I worried about any of this. But it happens.

If your friend calls you to bail him out, it goes something like this. He really wants to get out.

He messed up on a Friday night, and calls you Saturday AM. He really doesn’t want to wait till Monday AM to see if the judge will release him on OR (Own Recognizance–he promises not to disappear, costs no one any money).

You call a bail bondsman and he has access to info about the charges. Bail for drunk & obnoxious (waving pocketknife at hotel bouncer) is $2000, for uttering terrorist threats is $10,000. You drive to the city where the jail is, go to bond place, talk to clerk at the counter, put $1200 on your credit card, and sign a contract that if this guy doesn’t show up for any court date on this issue, you pay the remaining $10,800. But you ask, “What protection do I have if something goes wrong?”.

The clerk says nothing, but the owner comes out of her office (where you realize she could observe and hear everything) and asks a couple of questions about the guy’s life. She says with great confidence that there will be no problem, she will be able to find him. And she looks it, too.

That seems to be what the $1200 pays for (although the contract doesn’t say so).

The guy was a mentor to me some years before, and I owe him a lot. Down on his luck lately, you might say.

No problems occurred, he met each court date, followed all the rules, and got probation.

I think this is not quite right: you get the money back whether they are found innocent or not. The bail is soley to guarantee the court appearance.

In traffic court, your “bail” amount is the amount of the fine should you be found guilty, which they will keep if you are found guilty, but that is not the same thing. Your bail amount for a traffic citation is not to release you from jail.

Thanks for experiences and information. I am amazed though, that the bail bondsmen “keeps” 10% of the cash bail. If the bail is 1,000,000 and someone comes up with 100,000 to guarantee bail he gets to keep that entire amount as his fee? Amazing!

Is there any way that you can pay your own bail from a bank account? Do you allways need a second person not on charges involved?

Bippy, if you can pay your bond or bail out of what you’ve got in your wallet. outside of Louisiana, you’re generally out.

Lawyers may interfere with accurate information. Just one retired criminal speaking.

Are you joking about this? Was he really arrested for having long hair? How on earth could that happen?

Or am I being wooshed?

You can certainly post your own bail. I believe that’s what Robert Blake is doing, as well as virtually all other well-heeled defendants.

IIRC, when you show up for trial and remain to the bitter end, you get 100% of your money back regardless of outcome, except that if you are convicted and a fine is imposed, I imagine the court would take that out first. I suppose in the case of traffic violations, one could say that the “bail” becomes the “fine” if you go to trial and receive a guilty verdict.

The one thing missing from the summaries above is how the bail amount is determined.

There can be certain offenses for which the bond is fixed. Regardless, you’re generally entitled, within a reasonable period after your arrest, to appear before a magistrate for a bond hearing. This may or may not be combined with other parts of the process. For example, it’s often efficient to combine the bond hearing with the arraignment, the point at which you are formally advised of the charges against you and at which time you first enter a plea.

The magistrate typically considers factors such as the seriousness of the crime, the accused’s ties to the community, and any other factors relevant to the question of securing an appearance, and sets the bond amount. As other posters have indicated, you have the choice of posting the bond amount yourself, which you will get back if you’ve made all your appearances, or of paying 10% to a bondsman, which is a cost to you. You may use cash or real property of sufficient value as a bond.

“Booking,” as Ringo’s post suggests, is simply the process of taking your name, address, fingerprints, a full face and profile photograph, and the documentation of the fact that you’ve been arrested.

  • Rick

Ringo I was more thinking about using a debit card, or by some form of direct contact with a bank.