What Happens After Someone’s Arrested?

It’s late at night. The phone rings. There’s a friend or family member on the other line and they’ve been arrested. They’re scared and in jail. You want to help them. But you’ve never done this before. How does it work? We’ll explain the process below.

What do you do when someone’s in jail?

When you want to help someone who’s in jail, usually you have to pay bail. But before the person’s released, the person has to be booked. This process is often humiliating. After it’s completed, they can post bail according to the bail schedule and then they’re released. Or they await arraignment, where the bail amount may be altered by the judge or goes to a hearing where bail is set.

Sometimes, there isn’t any bail required. But usually court will require a bail payment before the person is released. When the person is released, they have to agree to come back for their scheduled court dates along with agreeing to certain things when they are waiting for their trial. If a defendant committed a capital crime or they’re thought to be a flight risk, they may not get bail. They won’t be released before their trial. The laws different from state to state as to when a judge can use their discretion as to when to grant bail.

Is an attorney required to be released from jail?

Attorneys aren’t required for posting bail or for getting someone released. But when someone is charged with something that results in a jail or prison term, they’re entitled to have counsel. When someone is being questioned about an alleged crime they can also request that an attorney is present. If they’re unable to afford one, they will be appointed one by the court. One of the good things about having the attorney when the person is arrested is the attorney might have the ability to have their charges or bail reduced.

What’s the timeline?

The timeline might happen as below:

  • The person is arrested.
  • The person’s taken down to the local police station.
  • The person is booked.

#1: Once the person is booked, they may have the option to pay a bail based upon a list of the common crimes. If this option is accepted, they’re released.

#2: If they’re not offered this option, the person may have to wait inside a cell or jail until their court hearing/arraignment.

#4: At their arraignment, they may enter their plea and bail will be set by the judge or allow the person to be released on their own recognizance. The bail may be paid then or after.

#6: If the hearing doesn’t happen in 48 hours or two days, the person will have their bail hearing or even a special hearing to figure if the charges have probable cause. The person can also pay their bail then or after.


Bail’s security in the form of property or money that is posted by a defendant with the court. The payment will do two things. First, it will grant the defendant some freedom until their trial. It will also discourage them from leaving town and skipping out of their trial. If the defendant doesn’t come to their trial, they forfeit their property or money and they could be arrested again.

Who is the bail set by?

Bail is set by a judge based on a few factors like:

  • How serious the crime was
  • The criminal history of the defendant
  • The financial condition of the defendant

Bail’s purpose isn’t to punish defendants. With regards to common crimes, preset schedules are used by police. In those kinds of cases, defendants are able to walk out of police stations after paying those amounts.

Is it always required to pay bail?

Not everyone has to pay bail. Sometimes a judge will take a look at the circumstances and decide that the person doesn’t have to pay. Maybe the person doesn’t have any type of criminal record. Maybe they have a good standing in the community. Maybe they aren’t a flight risk.

Can it be dangerous to post bail for another person?

When you post bail for someone else, you are basically saying to the court that I guarantee that this person is going to be at their court date. If they don’t show up at their court date, you are going to lose whatever you have given to the court. Whether it’s money, property, whatever, it’s going to be gone. If you choose to post bail for another person, you also may have to answer some questions in the court regarding where you got the money from that you used to pay the bail.

What are bail bond services?

Bail bond services are similar to loan companies. If you pay a fee that is non-refundable which is usually equal to ten percent of the bond, the company will pay the bond’s full amount. You won’t get that money back despite the fact that the charges are dropped. Like loan companies, you’re going to have to offer some collateral like a house or a car. If the person doesn’t appear in court, you can lose your collateral to the bail bondsman to repay what they have lost to the court.

Giving up certain rights for freedom

No matter whether the person gets released on their own recognizance or on bail, they have to agree to certain things or they could be re-arrested. They may have to do DNA or blood testing, to agree to searches periodically, or to meet with their probation officer. They may have their freedom, but they have paid a price for that freedom.


As you can see, there is a lot that goes into being released after you have been arrested. The best thing to do is to stay out of trouble. But if you can’t, make sure that you have good friends and family members who are willing to help you, and have a good attorney. Do what you are supposed to do and things will go much more smoothly.

Contact Us

Contact Us

We are located within walking distance of the Lee County and Hendry County Jails. We offer prompt, courteous services to obtain the quick release of our clients from Southwest Florida detention facilities. We also offer bond postings outside our local area through our Surety Network. We accept all major credit cards, Western Union, and personal checks.