Movies have perpetuated the belief that one’s life ends after an arrest, and there is no turning back. However, the reality is far from this. Following an arrest, one has multiple avenues to avoid jail time, prove their innocence and even erase the arrest from official records. The process starts with posting the bail with a bondsman guiding you through the journey, step by step.
1. Custody: Whether you are arrested or detained, you have the right to remain silent. The only information you have to provide when asked is your name, address and identification card. You also have the right to have an attorney when being questioned by police.
2. Bail: Bail is a process of paying a previously set amount to the court to get out of jail while you wait for your trail. Most of the time, people don’t have enough money to pay the whole sum in cash. In California, defendants can rely on a Sacramento bail bondsman to provide them with a fast release from jail. A bond fee equivalent to 10% of the entire amount is charged, and the rest is covered by collateral. Once you attend all court hearings, the agent returns the collateral and keeps the fee.
- Before trial: During this period, you must stay in the state, or it will be considered absconding, leading to additional legal charges. Under no circumstances should you jump the bail; this will eliminate any chances of a fair trial leading to your acquittal. Furthermore, it can hamper the chances of receiving bail in the future and cost you more money and jail time than your original arrest.
- During trial: Appear in court on the stipulated date and time in professional attire. Usually, an attorney is needed to help resolve the issue satisfactorily. If you need assistance in finding a lawyer, get in touch with the bar association (The State Bar of California) or your local legal services office.
- After trial: If you’re found guilty of the charges levied against you, your bail money will be refunded, but you will face an appropriate sentence as punishment. However, several bond businesses offer criminal defense investigations to uncover exculpatory evidence for the case. This lowers your chances of conviction, especially if you are innocent. If you are found not guilty, the court will clear your name, and you can walk free.
3. Seal Arrest Record: In Sacramento, an individual without a past criminal history of domestic abuse can expunge their arrest record as a matter of right (automatically). They can also get help from expungement attorneys in sealing their arrest records. Sealing the arrest means the record will not show up on criminal background checks. Furthermore, related official documents including collected fingerprints, booking photos (mugshots), Record of Arrests & Prosecutions (RAP) sheet entries and police reports will be deleted.
4. Fees: Most misdemeanors in California are punished by fines of under $1000, and bails range from $5000-$100,000. Failure to appear in court could result in heavier fines and a longer stay in jail.
Thus, make sure a ‘crime’ you had no role in does not destroy your future and hamper your opportunities in life. By following the points mentioned above and starting the process early with the help of a Sacramento bail bondsman, you can rest, knowing the incident never happened.