After being arrested and taken into police custody, at some point, you will appear before a magistrate who will determine your bail. Depending on the nature of your crime and whether you are a danger to society, your release may be denied. The most important decision you can make towards making bail is retaining the services of an experienced attorney. Your criminal defense lawyer can appear swiftly, explain the road ahead, and ensure your rights are protected.
Virginia bail process
After police arrest you, you will be brought down to the station for “booking.” Booking is the process of charging you with a crime, and it involves record-keeping, fingering printing, and photographing. Once you are booked, you may request an attorney — do so immediately. Next, you will appear before a magistrate (judge) to determine the terms of your bail.
The word “bail” refers to your release while “bond” refers to the cash payment made to secure your release. A “bail bondsman” is someone that posts the bond for your bail for a fee. In Virginia, there are three release bond options available depending on the discretion of the magistrate overseeing your case:
- Personal Recognizance (PR) — This type of release is generally used for minor offenses. If you are released on your own recognizance, you may leave after signing a written promise to appear in court.
- Unsecured bond — An unsecured bond is similar to PR in that you must sign a promise to appear in court before your release. However, under this option, you agree to pay a certain amount should you fail to appear in court.
- Secured bond — With a secured bond, you must pay a certain amount of money in order to secure your release. If you then attend all upcoming court dates, your money will be returned to you. In many cases, relatives or friends will hire a bail bondsman to bail someone out. The bail agent posts the full amount of bail once their fee is paid — approximately 10-15 percent of the total.
If you are arrested for a DUI, drug crime, violent crime, or other offense in Northern Virginia, you need immediate legal aid. The sooner you hire an experienced lawyer, the better your chances of setting a lower bail amount. With prompt and competent defense counsel, you can begin building a solid defense to safeguard your rights, freedom, and future.
Contact a skilled defense lawyer in Fairfax
The NoVa Law Firm has defended Virginians from a wide range of criminal offenses for well over a decade. Attorney Eric Clingan can help you navigate the criminal justice system and sidestep legal pitfalls. To discuss your criminal defense case with Eric today, call (703) 352-9347 or contact us online.