When you’re pulled over and arrested for DUI, you’ll be taken to the jail to be booked. You will go before the magistrate either later in the evening or the next morning to discuss your bail. The process can be difficult to understand if you have never been arrested before. You need to remain calm and not get angry while in court because it will reflect negatively on your case. Sometimes, you can be released by signing for your bail or without a bail if you don’t have a criminal history. If you can’t afford the bail that you’ve been given, then you can talk with a bondsman who can work with someone you know to get you out of jail for a percentage of the bail amount.
After you’re arrested, the booking procedure begins. An officer will gather your personal information, such as your name and birthday. You’ll be fingerprinted and have your picture taken. The officer will also enter information into a record about the crime that you are charged with. In this case, it would be the DUI. Information about the DUI will usually include your blood alcohol content as well as where you were located when you were stopped by the officer. Your criminal background will be searched to see if you have had any prior DUI charges or if you have had any other charges that aren’t associated with a DUI. Any personal belongings will be taken and put in a bag. When you’re released, you’ll be able to get these items back. You will usually be taken to a holding cell or the jail until your bail hearing.
The bail process is one that you will go through to get out of jail by paying money to the court. You will need to promise to appear for any and all hearings in the future that are related to your DUI case. If there isn’t a magistrate or judge available right after you’re booked, then you’ll meet with the judge at a later time, usually when court is in session, to find out your bail amount. At times, you might not be given a bail amount. This is usually done if you have a lengthy criminal history or if there were injuries involved as a result of your DUI.
Most courts have a bail schedule that they base the amount of bail for a DUI on so that each person receives a fair hearing. The judge will often look at your record before deciding a final amount as well as whether you have ties to the community or not. If you don’t have ties to the community or you don’t have a job, then the judge can see this as an easier way for you to leave the area and not appear in court on your DUI charges. If you don’t have all of the money for the bail amount, then your family members or friends can talk to a bondsman who can post the bail after a certain amount is paid. For most agents, the required amount is 10 percent of the bail. Once this is paid, the agent will take the money to the jail or courthouse and sign the papers so that you’re released. Some bail bond companies will accept collateral if you don’t have the money to pay the bond. Examples include vehicle titles or land. However, if you don’t appear in court, then the bond agent can keep the collateral because the agent will need to pay the bail amount from his own account.
If the judge decides to release you on your own recognizance, you don’t need to pay any money. However, you do need to sign the paperwork assuring that you will appear for your court date. You will usually be prohibited from leaving the area, and you will probably have to contact the court before your court date to check in so that everyone knows that you will be present. It is often in your best interest to talk to an attorney about your DUI charge. Your attorney can sometimes get your bail amount reduced if you have trouble paying the bail or the bond amount after examining the evidence produced.