What Is The Bail Process And How Does It Work?

There are three types of bail, which are:

  1. Secured Bail means you have to post cash or collateral at the time the bail amount is set or you go to jail.
  2. Unsecured Bail means the bail amount is set but its unsecured.
    1. If you violate bail Unsecured Bail conditions, you are put in jail and are obligated to pay your bail amount to the country.
  3. Release on Recognizance, for which you just sign your name and go home.
    1. If you violate ROR Bail conditions, they will throw you in jail but can’t take money from you.

Now, in terms of how to post bail, you can either put up cash, property, or hire a bail bondsman. If you hire a bail bondsman, you pay a fee to him to secure his use of his collateral to get you out.

If it’s $50,000 for example, he signs a surety note to the government that vouches for you, and if you violate the conditions, he has to pay the bond to the court, and come after you for the money.

When it comes to filing for a property bail, you have to show them free and clear title to the property, or have enough equity in the property to cover the amount of bail. If your bail’s $50,000 and your house is worth $200,000, but you have a $100,000 mortgage, you’re okay. If you have a $180,000 mortgage, however, you don’t have enough equity and bail can’t be posted.

What is the Criminal Process After I Get Out of Jail?

If you’ve been sent a summons through the mail, you go directly to the preliminary hearing.

If you were physically arrested and taken into custody, a bail is set. This is called a preliminary arraignment. And you either have to post bail or sit in jail until your preliminary hearing. A preliminary hearing is designed to determine if there is a prima facie case against you.  “Prima facie” means “on the face,” which in plain English means does it looks like a crime has been committed and that you may have committed it.

The burden of proof for a preliminary hearing is much lower than beyond a reasonable doubt. If you imagine reasonable doubt as a yardstick, then the government needs enough evidence to jump over the yardstick. At a preliminary hearing, they only have to jump over a few inches. At the preliminary hearing, credibility is not an issue, so if someone says you did something, but someone else gets on the stand and says you didn’t, that’s for a jury or a judge to determine, so the case gets bound over.

The next appearance is an arraignment where you enter your plea. The next appearance is called many things but basically what goes on is you inform the court and the government what you are doing with your case. If your case is fought, there will be jury selection and then a trial. The number of court appearances differ with the complexity of the case and if the case will be fought or lead to a plea.

Is There Any Way A Prior Arrest or Conviction Can be Sealed or Expunged?

The only way to expunge a prior conviction is when you’re 70 years old, and you have to have behaved since you were 60, at least. The only other way to get an expungement is to get a pardon from the governor, or if you’re given an ARD. Otherwise, nothing can be expunged until you’re 70.