Time spent in custody is unpleasant, no matter how short. It is easy to experience uncertainty during this time, especially when thinking about where to source resources to secure your freedom and hire an attorney. Further, You could be thinking about how to engage an attorney and prepare for your defense, go to work, and still provide for your loved ones.
The first step to take to address these issues is securing your release by posting bail. You need not worry if you do not have the money required to post bail. With the help of a bail bond agent, you can post bail and be released from jail.
Steven Mehr Bail Bonds offers bail bonds to individuals arrested in West Covina and are looking for bond solutions. Get in touch with our team today.
Bail is any sum of money deposited in court by a defendant or a third party to free the defendant from jail while assuring the court of the defendant’s attendance of future court appearances. Defendants can pay in cash. If they are unable to, a bail bond agent will do so in the form of a bond.
You can post bail for most misdemeanors. However, bail is not an option for serious felonies. For other less serious felonies and minor offenses, you can be released from jail without posting bail. In these instances, your release is based on your word, a signed commitment, to attend all court hearings.
Once you are arrested, you will be taken to jail and booked. Booking involves taking a record of individuals arrested and brought to jail. Several factors affect how long a booking process may take, so there is no set limit on how long the process takes.
Standard booking procedures, the number of arrestees being booked, and the police officers involved in the booking process all contribute to how long the booking process takes.
A typical booking process will involve the following procedures.
Recording Your Personal Details
Upon arrest, police officers will take down your name, date of birth, and physical characteristics. Additionally, they will record the crime you were brought in for.
Taking a Mugshot
There are several uses of a mug shot. Two stand out.
Mug shots help uniquely identify individuals. It proves helpful in cases where two people share a name. The image also helps capture your facial features. Police can then use the photos against facial descriptions of suspects.
The photos further capture your physical condition at the time of the arrest. With the images, you can make a claim against the arresting officers if the officers used unlawful force. Moreover, your physical condition is also relevant if you were arrested after an altercation.
Confiscating Your Clothes and Personal Belongings
Officers will take your clothes and any other personal property on your person, including watches, wallets, necklaces, and keys. All will be accounted for, including the money in your wallet and will be handed over to you upon your release.
Should investigators deem your clothing or any item on your person material to the investigations, the property will be confiscated as evidence. Additionally, any contraband will be confiscated, and like the items bagged as evidence, officers will not return them to you.
Taking Your Fingerprints
Your fingerprints will be captured and entered into the nationwide database. All relevant government agencies, both at the state and federal levels, will have access to your prints. Anyone with access can then know if the suspect’s prints match any prints lifted from other crime scenes.
Full Body Search
Expect a full-body search while being booked. You may have been subjected to the routine cursory pat-down inspections at the time of the arrest. Once in custody, the officers will perform a strip search to confiscate any contraband arrestees may hide.
Full-body searches, though humiliating, are not intrusive or illegal.
Checking for Pending Warrants
If you have any pending warrants, you will be denied bail.
As a measure of caution, you will be screened to identify any medical conditions or diseases you may have. This is a safeguard to protect the health of inmates and jail officials. Of interest is the presence of tuberculosis or any other sexually transmitted disease like HIV and gonorrhea.
Bail Setting Process
Your first court appearance after an arrest will be your arraignment. Following your arrest, the law requires you to be arraigned within 48 hours, excluding weekends and holidays.
During the arraignment,
- The judge will formally read you your charges
- You will enter a plea — You can plead guilty, not guilty, ask for a continuance, request for deferred judgment or diversion, or enter a plea of nolo contendere (no contest plea)
- The judge will set bail.
- You can request for a defense attorney — You can either request for a public defender or request for a continuance to engage a private attorney.
Bail is set based on the circumstances. Judges rely on their county’s bail schedule. However, the bail may increase or decrease based on the judge’s discretion. Should you choose to contest the bail amount, your West Covina attorney can request a bail hearing within two days after your arraignment. The judge can decide to either increase, lower, or retain the bail as is or release you on your own recognizance, also referred to as an O.R. release.
A judge can also deny you bail. Parole violation, probation violation, high probability of you being a flight risk, committing another crime while out on bail, or having a pending warrant for your arrest from another jurisdiction are some issues judges consider when denying bail.
You can pay the full amount in cash. You will then have to produce a money order, cashier’s or traveler’s check with a court clerk or the arresting agency. In some cases, personal checks are also accepted. For those unable to pay the bail sum in cash, the bail bond is the best alternative.
A bail bond is posted on behalf of the defendant by a bail bond agent to secure their freedom. You will have to pay the West Covina bail bond agent 10% of the bail amount up front. This sum is their non-refundable service fee. Upon payment, the bail agent will deposit the bail sum with the court to secure your release.
Bail bond contracts require collateral. The collateral is the security bail agents will liquidate to recover the bond’s value should you fail to honor your court dates. In most cases, bail agents from West Covina accept cars and houses as collateral. Additionally, if you do not have security, your loved ones can be your indemnitor. As co-signers, the property they offer as collateral will be on the hook should you fail to attend court as required.
If you attend all court dates, the courts refund the bail sum to you if you posted bail. If a bail bond agent posted bail, the court will refund the bail sum to the agents. Failing to make court appearances results in the court forfeiting your bail. That is why the bail bondsman will seek to dispose of the property in the bail agreement to recover the sum they deposited with the court.
Consequences of Failing to Appear in Court
Failing to show up in court as expected results in grave consequences. A judge will issue a bench warrant for your arrest. The warrants give law enforcement officers authority to arrest you. Additionally, bounty hunters will also be involved. The hunters will arrest and present you to law enforcement officers for a portion of the bail sum known as a bounty.
Ideally, failing to honor court dates automatically results in bail forfeiture if you paid the bail or bond forfeiture if a bail bondsman made bail on your behalf. However, courts can vacate forfeiture orders and exonerate the bond if you, the defendant, appear within 180 days of the bail forfeiture date. Further, the court will consider your reasons for skipping bail. Some of the valid reasons the courts consider include:
- You suffered an ailment severe enough to affect your travel. A medical report or statement should substantiate the illness.
- You suffered mental illness.
- You sustained injuries that made it difficult to attend court.
- You became disabled prior to the court date.
- You were in custody in another jurisdiction.
Bond forfeiture, losing your collateral and remaining in jail as you await trial are not the only consequences skipping bail results to. You may be charged with a misdemeanor for failing to appear if the underlying charge was a misdemeanor. Consequently, felony charges will be added for failing to honor court dates if the underlying charge is a felony.
Bail Bonds Categories
Judges consider various issues when setting the bail amount. Additionally, the alleged crime, your citizenship status, and your financial assets also determine the category of bail to be issued. Let us look at some types of bail bonds available in West Covina.
Cash bonds offset bail sums through card payments, money orders, cashier, traveler’s, and in some instances, personal checks. Cash bails are often high in value and are mostly issued if the defendant is a danger to the public or a flight risk.
You can secure your freedom by depositing titles of your properties with the court. You too can use your or a loved one’s property. Should you fail to appear for your court dates, the court will claim the property, thus possessing your assets. It is advisable to use this bond as a last result.
Bail bonds or surety bonds are the best alternatives when posting bail. Bail bond agents can pay the bail sum, thus relieving you or your loved ones of the worry and hustle of sourcing the funds. All you need is to pay 10% of the bail amount and have collateral you can attach to the bail bond agreement. If you fail to honor court dates, the bail agent has the authority to liquidate the collateral to recoup the sum forfeited by the court.
Non-citizens under the custody of ICE (Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Department) deposit immigration bonds as they await trial. The bands secure their freedom pending immigration hearings. Immigrants are potential flight risks. Thus their bails are often high, and in turn, immigration bonds are costly too.
Federal bonds come in handy if you are facing federal crimes. Due to the severity of the crime and the bail sums set by the courts, most West Covina bail bond agents charge a non-refundable fee of 12% to 20%. The severity of the charges informs the rate you will have to pay.
As the name suggests, unsecured bonds require no security or lien on the property. All you need is to sign an agreement committing yourself to pay the bail amount should you fail to honor your court appearances.
It is worth noting, not all bail bond agencies in West Covina are credible. Take your time while researching for the ideal bail bonds company. Rely on customer reviews, including those offered through referrals, to help you settle on the best choice.
West Covina Jail and Courthouse Information
West Covina Jail
West Covina Courthouse
Find a Credible West Covina Bail Bond Agent Near Me
An arrest limits your daily operations. Once arrested, you will be unable to work, care for your family, or work with your attorney to prepare for your defense. After all, you are innocent until proven guilty. Your freedom ensures your most important activities are not affected before your case is heard and determined. It is thus critical to secure your release and what better way than to engage a bond dealer.
At Steven Mehr Bail Bonds, our team of bail bondsmen in West Covina are ready to secure your release. Feel free to contact our agents at 800-834-8522 any time of the day or week.