The criminal justice system is a system that many people find challenging to navigate without the help of a legal expert. From what to do after an arrest to what to expect during the trial period, your life as an arrestee hangs on a balance between freedom and a possible jail sentence and/or fines. What you do from the onset will likely determine the outcome of your case.
While it is normal to be confused after an arrest, one of the first things you should do is contact a defense attorney to discuss your options. This will ensure your rights are protected under the law. If the arresting officer detains you, the next important thing to do is contact a bail bonds company, especially if you are not released on own recognizance or the required bail amount is higher than you can afford.
Justice Bail Bonds can help you or a loved one throughout the bail process. We understand that your focus should be to go back to your family and prepare a defense strategy against the charges you are facing. That’s why we have agents on standby throughout Ramona to help you whenever you need us. Get in touch with our local Ramona bail bond agents to kickstart your bail process now.
Instances that May Lead to an Arrest
There are various instances that can lead to an arrest, but let's focus on three specific scenarios where an arrest can be made: when an officer has probable cause, when there is an existing arrest warrant, and during a search and warrant.
Probable Cause — If a law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that a person has committed a crime or is in the process of committing a crime, they can make an arrest without a warrant. Probable cause means that the officer has a reasonable belief, based on facts and circumstances, that a crime has been committed or is about to be committed. For example, if an officer sees someone breaking into a car, they have probable cause to arrest that person for burglary.
Arrest Warrant — An arrest warrant is a court order that authorizes law enforcement officers to arrest a specific person. If there is an existing arrest warrant for a person, the officer can make an arrest at any time and place. Arrest warrants are issued by a judge after a prosecutor presents evidence to show that there is probable cause to believe that the person committed a crime. For example, if a person fails to appear in court after being charged with a crime, a judge may issue a warrant for their arrest.
Search and Investigation — Law enforcement officers may conduct an investigation into a suspected crime and gather evidence before making an arrest. If the investigation yields sufficient evidence to support an arrest, officers can then obtain a search warrant to search for additional evidence and make the arrest. For example, if officers suspect that someone is involved in drug trafficking, they may conduct surveillance and gather evidence before obtaining a search warrant for the suspect's home or vehicle. If officers find evidence of drug trafficking during the search, they can then make an arrest of the suspect.
In each of these instances, the law enforcement officer must follow proper procedures to ensure that the arrest is lawful and that the person's constitutional rights are protected. If the evidence is obtained illegally or without a proper warrant, it may not be admissible in court, and the arrest may be deemed unlawful.
Despite these instances, the subsequent events are usually uniform. You will accompany the officer to the nearest jail for booking. Then you can post bail or contact a bail bondsman to post bail on your behalf. Most arrestees will be taken to Ramona Substation at 1424 Montecito Road for booking, before being transported to a larger jail facility in the county.
If you suspect a loved one or a friend has been arrested, you can contact the Sheriff’s Department at 760-789-9157 for more information and assistance.
The Booking Process
Booking is the process that occurs after a person is arrested and taken into custody. It involves several steps that are designed to identify the person, document the circumstances of the arrest, and prepare the person for arraignment. Here are some of the things that typically happen during booking:
Identification: The person is asked to provide their name, date of birth, and other identifying information. They may also be fingerprinted and photographed for record-keeping purposes.
Record search: Law enforcement officers will search for any existing warrants, criminal history, or outstanding charges for the person.
Property inventory: The person's personal belongings, such as jewelry, money, and clothing, are taken and stored for safekeeping until the person is released.
Medical screening: The person is asked about their medical history and any current medical needs, and they may receive a basic medical exam.
Interviews: Law enforcement officers may interview the person to gather information about the circumstances of the arrest, such as where the person was at the time of the alleged crime, who else was involved, and whether there were any witnesses.
Bail determination: If the person is eligible for bail, a judge or other court official will set the bail amount. If the person is unable to pay the bail, they may be held in custody until their court date.
Placement in a cell: After the booking is complete, the person is typically placed in a holding cell until they are transferred to a larger holding facility or released.
What Follows Booking?
What happens after booking depends on many factors, as we will discuss further below. An outcome is usually a person being released without posting bail or the court requiring the person to post bail before they are released.
You can be released automatically without bail. In this case, bail is a sum of money paid to the court as a guarantee that an arrestee will appear for their court date. The automatic release is often the case for minor offenses, such as traffic violations or low-level misdemeanors. In these cases, you may simply be given a citation and released with a promise to appear in court on a certain date.
For more serious offenses or if you have a criminal history, you may not be released automatically without bail. In these cases, a judge will determine whether you can be released on bail or whether you should be held in custody until your court date.
The amount of bail is usually easier to determine if the alleged charges are under the San Diego County bail schedule. Each county has its own bail schedule, a document that lists the bail amounts for various offenses based on the severity of the crime. It is used as a guideline to help judges and other court officials determine the appropriate amount of bail for a particular offense. These schedules typically include a list of offenses and corresponding bail amounts, as well as any aggravating or mitigating factors that may impact the bail amount.
If you or a loved one is arrested in Ramona, this schedule (effective January 2023) can help you determine the likely bail amount for the alleged charges. Note that a bail schedule is only a guideline, and the judge has the discretion to set the bail amount higher or lower depending on the circumstances of the case and the defendant's individual situation.
The Bail Hearing: What Is Considered
Certain offenses may not have a set bail amount and may require a hearing to determine the appropriate amount. A bail hearing is a court proceeding during which a judge determines whether to set bail and, if so, the amount of bail for a defendant who has been arrested and charged with a crime.
During the hearing, the defendant or their attorney will have the opportunity to argue for a lower bail amount or for no bail at all. The prosecution may also argue for a higher bail amount based on the alleged offense and the defendant's criminal history.
The judge will consider these factors for the final judgment:
The nature and severity of the alleged offense: The more serious the offense, the higher the bail amount is likely to be.
Your criminal history: If you have a criminal history or have failed to appear in court in the past, the judge may consider this when setting bail.
Your ties to the community: The judge may consider whether you have a family, employment, or other ties to the community that would make you more likely to appear in court if released.
Flight risk: If the judge believes that you are likely to flee, they may set a higher bail amount or deny bail altogether.
Your financial resources: The judge may consider your ability to pay bail when setting the bail amount.
Note that the bail hearing is not a trial or a determination of guilt or innocence. It is simply a hearing to determine the amount of bail, if any, that should be set for the defendant.
Can I Challenge the Bail Hearing Outcome?
The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the right to bail, which means that an accused person has the right to be released from jail before trial upon payment of a reasonable amount of bail or upon the condition of pretrial release. However, the bail must be set at an amount that is not excessive and is based on the nature and circumstances of the alleged offense, as well as the defendant's individual circumstances.
The law also allows for pretrial release without bail under certain circumstances, such as through a release on recognizance (ROR), where the defendant is released without paying bail but is required to promise to appear at all court proceedings.
Furthermore, the law provides for a hearing to challenge the amount of bail if the defendant believes it is excessive or violates their constitutional right to bail. The hearing is known as a "bail review hearing," and it is an opportunity for the defendant or their attorney to present evidence to support a lower bail amount or a release on their own recognizance.
In summary, you have the right to challenge the amount of bail if you believe it is unfair or unconstitutional.
Posting Bail after a Hearing: Cash Bail and Property Bond
If bail is set at your bail hearing, you or someone on your behalf can post bail to secure your release from custody until your court date. There are several ways to post bail, including cash bail and property bonds.
Cash bail involves paying the full amount of the bail in cash, cashier's check, or money order directly to the court. Once the case is resolved, the bail money will be returned, minus any administrative fees.
Property bond involves using real property, such as a home or land, as collateral for the full bail amount. If you fail to appear in court, the court can foreclose on the property to recover the bail amount.
Once bail is posted, you will be released from custody and can return home while awaiting your court date.
Working With a Bail Bonds Company
A bail bond company provides a way for defendants to post bail without having to pay the full amount of the bail. Instead, the defendant or their family/friends will pay a non-refundable fee to the bail bond company, typically 10% of the total bail amount. In return, the bail bond company will issue a bond to the court for the full amount of the bail, thus securing the defendant's release.
Working with a bail bond company can be beneficial for several reasons. It can be much more affordable than paying the full amount of the bail in cash, especially for defendants who may not have the financial resources to pay the full amount of the bail. It can also be a faster process, as the bail bond company can post the bond with the court quickly, often within a few hours of being contacted. Finally, the bail bond company will handle all of the paperwork and logistics associated with posting bail, which can be a significant burden for defendants and their families.
Working with a bail bond company does come with some risks. If the defendant fails to appear in court, the bail bond company may be responsible for paying the full amount of the bail to the court, and they may try to recoup their losses by pursuing the defendant or their family/friends. Additionally, some bail bond companies may engage in unscrupulous practices, such as charging hidden fees or using aggressive tactics to collect payment. That’s why you should work with a reputable Ramona bail bonds company to ensure you are dealing with reliable partners.
Here are tips to help you determine a reliable Ramona bail bonds company:
The company must be licensed by the California Department of Insurance. You can check the department's website to verify a company's license status and ensure that they are in good standing.
Look for reviews and ratings from past clients to get a sense of the company's reputation. Check online review sites like Yelp, Google, and Facebook to see what others are saying about their experiences with the company.
A reputable bail bond company may be affiliated with professional organizations, such as the California Bail Agents Association or the National Association of Bail Bond Agents. Affiliations can be a sign that the company is committed to high standards of professionalism and ethics.
Ask friends, family, or acquaintances if they have ever worked with a bail bond company and if they would recommend them. Personal referrals can be a valuable source of information and help you feel more confident in your choice.
A reliable bail bond company will be transparent about its fees, processes, and obligations. They should be willing to answer any questions you have and provide you with all the necessary information in a clear and straightforward manner. They should also communicate with you promptly and consistently throughout the bail process.
What Happens To The Bail Money?
If you posted bail using your own money, the bail money will typically be returned to you at the conclusion of the case. However, there are factors that can affect whether or not the bail money is returned and how long it takes to receive it.
If you have used a bail bond company, you will have paid a non-refundable fee to the company for their services. If you have violated the conditions of your bail, such as by failing to appear in court or committing another crime while out on bail, the court may forfeit your bail money. This means that the court will keep the money as a penalty for your failure to comply with the terms of your release.
If you have met all of the conditions of your release and have not forfeited your bail, the bail money will typically be returned to you or your designated recipient (such as a family member or attorney) after the case has been resolved. The exact timing of the return can vary depending on the court's procedures, but it is usually within a few weeks to a few months after the case has ended.
Find a Local Ramona Bail Bonds Company Near Me
There are many local bail bond companies to choose from in Ramona, which can make it challenging to choose the right one. We at Justice Bail Bonds have been offering reliable and efficient bail bond services for local residents and arrestees throughout the county. Thus, you can trust us to bail out you or a loved one.
We are always ready to help you, at any time of the day and year. Please get in touch with us today at 951-445-4155 to learn more about our services.