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If Arrested, What Are the Available Release Options?

Comments Off on If Arrested, What Are the Available Release Options?

An arrest is an emotional, high-stress experience, but the events after an arrest can be equally as damaging. Depending on the charges you are facing, you may need to remain in police custody for a certain period of time, usually until your trial or a hearing. However, Washington offers multiple options for release, and you may be eligible to return home while waiting for your court appointment.

What Happens After an Arrest?

If a law enforcement officer places you under arrest, you will usually need to accompany him or her to the police station to complete the booking process. During booking, the officer will record important information such as your name, contact information, and the crime you allegedly committed.

You will also take a series of photos known as the mug shot, and you will need to relinquish your clothing and personal property to police custody. The officers may dress you in a jail uniform. Next, the officer will take an impression of your fingerprints, collect other physical evidence, and conduct a full-body search and health screening.

After the booking process concludes, the officer may place you in a holding cell or secure facility while you await trial, or someone posts bail on your behalf. You can make a phone call to a family member, a defense attorney, or loved one during this process.

The Washington Bail Process

Bail is a payment that allows you to leave jail in exchange for promising that you will attend all of your court appearances. In some cases, you can post bail immediately after booking. However, if you are facing serious charges, you will need to wait for a bail hearing.

During a bail hearing, a judge will decide if you are eligible for release on bail and how much your bail will be. The judge will base his or her decisions on your risk to the community, your flight risk, the charges you are facing, your prior criminal history, and your court attendance record.

Once you know how much your bail will be, you can utilize one of four release options available in Washington state.

  • Cash bonds: A cash bond is a payment for the total amount of bail in cash. If you attend your court appointments, the court will return the cash bond, minus any fines and court fees. If you fail to appeal, the court will assume control over the payment.
  • Own recognizance: Depending on the charges you are facing, you may be eligible for a country or law enforcement-enforced pretrial release program. You do not have to post cash or access to participate in these programs, but you will need to pass an interview with program administrators to determine if you qualify. Generally, you will qualify for an own recognizance release if you are not a flight risk and are not facing charges for a violent crime.
  • Surety bonds: A surety bond, or bail bond, is an agreement between you and an admitted insurance company to pay for the bond in advance. The company, also known as a bail agent, will guarantee to the court that it will pay the forfeiture if you fail to attend your court appointment. You will need to provide collateral to the bail agent and will be liable if you do not appear in court.
  • Property bonds: In rare cases, you could use property assets as a way to post bail. A property bond provides the court with title to a property if you fail to attend your scheduled court hearings.

Navigating the bail process can be confusing without a criminal defense attorney on your side. As soon as possible after your arrest, contact a defense lawyer to discuss your case and release options.

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