From Booking to Bail – The Steps to Follow for Availing Bail

After the arrest of a person on some criminal charges, the chances of sending the person to jail are very high because the police require time to frame the charges and prepare documents for the trial after some weeks. The person could remain in jail for many days because there is no certainty when the trial would begin. In such a situation, to cut short the custodial detention, the arrested person or defendant can seek bail in a court and on fulfilling the conditions be released from captivity.

The bail process might appear simple but needs proper execution by understanding the various steps involved from the time of the arrest until the release of the person from custody. For more clarity about the bail process and the way it works, you can log on to, and the brief discussion in this article should also help.

What Is Booking?

Booking is a term loosely used as a substitute for arrest. Soon after the arrest, the police take the person in their custody while recording the case details and this phase is known as booking, a term used for legal purposes. During this stage, the police record all personal details of the arrested person like name, gender, address, date of birth, and physical characteristics as well as information related to the alleged crime. They will also conduct a background check of the person to ascertain the criminal history besides taking fingerprints and photographs and even confiscating whatever belongings are found on the person. The person stays in jail or police custody until the trial begins after some weeks.

Hearing or Arraignment

After booking, the police read out the charges to the arrested person and provide a chance for seeking release by securing bail or based on a written promise depending on the case. For minor cases, the police will release the person after obtaining a written undertaking that he will appear in court and follow the directives of the police. In other cases, the person must follow the procedure of seeking bail from the court by appearing before a judge. After considering the nature of the crime and the person’s background and criminal record, together with the risks that the person might pose after release, including the chances of fleeing, the judge might fix an amount. Defying the bail conditions tantamount to a fresh crime and leads to the arrest of the person.

What Is Bail?

The court seeks a financial guarantee usually in the form of cash payment or bail bond that also acts as an assurance from the person about abiding by the law, following the conditions mentioned in the bail and appearing for trial when called upon. Fulfilling the conditions would entitle the person to receive a refund of the amount paid, but failing to comply would result in forfeiture of the money deposited and the arrest of the person for committing a fresh crime.

Posting bail means making the payment by cash, cashier’s check, or money order. For a larger amount, furnishing a bail bond with help from an appropriate agent is more convenient.

How Is a Bail Set?

Judges have the responsibility of setting bail. As many accused wish to get out of the imprisonment immediately, most of the jails are having standard bail schedules specifying precise amounts for some of the common crimes committed. An arrested individual could often be released from jail quite fast simply by paying off the amount that has already been set previously in the precise station house bail schedule.

If an arrested person is willing to post bail, however, he cannot afford the set amount specified in the bail schedule, he could request the judge to reduce the amount. According to the procedures existing in the state, the request for a reduced amount could be made in a special hearing for bail or when the arrested person appears in court for the very first time.

Bail Setting By Algorithm

Since the last few years, courts have begun using math for informing decisions regarding pretrial release. As per these jurisdictions, we understand that select information regarding the suspect is input into a program then a recommendation or a score comes out. All these bail algorithms that are known to consider factors such as criminal history and age would be evaluating the risk involved if the suspect fails to come back to the court for the next hearing or if the suspect commits another crime while out on bail.

As per the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment, the amount cannot be excessive. This implies that it must not be utilized predominantly for the sake of raising money only for the government. Moreover, bail should not be utilized as a tool for punishing an individual who has been accused of committing the crime. Do not forget that the main purpose of issuing a bail is to help the suspect to remain free until he is convicted of committing a crime.

However, in practice, many judges would be setting incredibly high amounts especially in such cases where the high bail would be keeping the arrested person in jail. He would be compelled to stay within the confines of the jail until the entire legal procedure is over and the precise case is over.

Conditions of Bail

Bailed-out suspects would need to comply with precise conditions of release. That is standard procedure. In the event, a suspect has violated any of the conditions, the judge has the right to revoke bail and ask the suspect to be arrested again and returned to police custody or jail. Certain bail conditions are quite common like the suspect must obey all laws. Some conditions may be reflecting the precise crime that was the reason why the suspect was arrested in the first place. For instance, a bail condition may necessitate a suspect arrested for perpetrating domestic violence to stay away from the alleged victim.


If you are arrested for any crime, you must take proactive steps quickly to safeguard your rights, as well as, your future. You must get in touch with your lawyer at the earliest, following your arrest, so that he could take steps to get you a bail.