Being arrested and charged with a crime can be scary, and you may wonder what your options are. The ability to return to your home as you work on your defense with a criminal law attorney can substantially reduce the stress of this ordeal—for you and your family.
However, not everyone gets the opportunity to do that. What happens to you between being arrested and your trial depends on the bail process. Learn about the bail process in Long Beach below and how an experienced criminal law attorney can help you increase the chances you’ll get out on bail.
Understanding the Long Beach Booking and Custody Process
If you are arrested in Long Beach, you may be booked and held in jail. Here is what you can expect with the booking process:
- The arresting officer will search you.
- Any legal property you have on your person, such as a wallet, will be placed in a plastic bag or other container and recorded for inventory purposes. That includes any money you may have on you as well as medications.
- If you have indicated any physical or mental health issues or the arresting officer has noted any, he or she must communicate that information to the appropriate staff at the jail.
- If any evidence is uncovered during this time that could lead to additional charges, they must be recorded prior to booking.
- You must submit to fingerprinting and have your mugshot taken as part of the booking process.
- Once booking is complete, you are typically placed in a holding cell. The staff at the jail has an obligation to ensure you are reasonably safe in the holding cell.
Typically, you should have an arraignment hearing within 48 hours of your booking. This is the hearing where you plead guilty or not guilty. It’s also the hearing where you find out if bail will be set and how much. In some situations, it may take three or more days to have your hearing, such as if you are booked on a Friday afternoon or prior to a holiday when the court is closed.
What Is Bail and How Is It Determined in Long Beach?
Bail is money a person can put up as a guarantee that they will show up at future hearings or their trial. The money is returned if the person shows up and the court keeps the money if they don’t.
You can pay your entire bail amount in cash to the court. You can also work with a bail bondsman who pays the amount for you. In this case, you pay a certain percentage to the bail bondsman as a fee for this service. If you don’t show up to court, you may end up owing the bail bondsman the entire amount.
Judges determine bail based on a variety of factors, including:
- How serious the charges are. The more serious the charges—meaning the more serious the potential penalties—the higher bail may be.
- Whether someone is a flight risk. Judges might consider a person’s personal life, the resources they have, where their family is located, and other factors to determine whether they are at above average risk of fleeing the city, state, or country.
- Your criminal history. If you have previous convictions, have demonstrated an unwillingness to appear in court before, or are currently on probation or parole, these facts can impact your chances at bail or how much bail is set for.
- How the court perceives you. If the court perceives, for any reason, that you might be a danger to the community, it may withhold bail or set it very high.
Generally, bail amounts tend to range from around $10,000 to around $100,000. In some cases, particularly those involving charges that could result in a life sentence, bail can be as much as a million dollars. Some jurisdictions in California set bail schedules, linking suggested amounts or ranges to the types of charges.
How Can a Lawyer Help With the Bail Process?
Having a knowledgeable criminal lawyer on your side can be valuable throughout the process, including getting bail. Here are just some ways a lawyer might help you get out on bail:
- Your attorney works to protect your rights throughout the arrest process. That includes ensuring you get a bail hearing in as timely a manner as possible.
- Your lawyer meets with you prior to any hearings to discuss your options so you can make the most educated decision for yourself before entering a plea.
- Your attorney may review information and question charges that don’t seem right. If the prosecutor agrees to pursue lower charges instead, that can impact how bail is calculated.
- Your lawyer can present information and arguments in court for a more favorable bail decision, potentially helping the judge to see you or your case in a light that ensures you get a bail opportunity or that bail is something you can afford.
Don’t face criminal charges or a bail hearing alone. If you or someone you love has been arrested, contact the Law Offices of Jerry Nicholson today for help.