Whether the charge is for a misdemeanor or a felony, being arrested is sure to feel devastating to someone who has never before found themselves at odds with the legal system. Since most arrests require the defendant to be held until arraignment unless released by the court on a bond agreement, newly arrested defendants will first have to decide whether or not they wish to post bail. 

What happens to defendants who choose not to post bond? 

Defendants with no experience in the criminal legal system and limited funds may be tempted to remain in the jail until their hearing. When this path is chosen, they can expect to be held in a city or county jail cell, usually with several other offenders, until the date and time of their arraignment.

Most court systems require that defendants be arraigned within a certain period of time, often three days from the time of the arrest, although weekends, holidays, and judge availability can also impact the actual time frame. When the time for arraignment arrives, the defendant will be either physically taken before the judge dressed in jail garb, or they will be arraigned from the holding facility using video technology. 

During the arraignment, the defendant is given an opportunity to enter a plea. If they enter a plea of guilty, the judge moves ahead to enter a sentence. However, if a non-guilty plea is entered, the judge can continue the current bond arrangements, set new terms, or remove the ability to post bail and leave the defendant in jail until their next court date. 

During the time that the defendant is held in jail, their access to phone calls and visitors may be limited or restricted and they are unable to attend work, school, or provide care for their children or homes. 

Why is posting bond more beneficial? 

Defendants who opt to post bond as soon as possible, on the other hand, have the opportunity to continue their work and family responsibilities with far less interruption. While free on bond, they will be able to continue earning income that can be used to help pay attorney costs or provide for their family. If the defendant has young children, being free on bond while awaiting arraignment will help reduce the level of stress and emotional duress they are exposed to. 

If you or someone you love has been arrested, it is important that you take time to weigh all the consequences before deciding whether to post bond or wait in jail. To learn more about the bail bond process and your local legal system, contact reputable 24 hour jail bail services in your area.