Most don’t realize, that once a defendant has been booked into the jail system there are various ways they can be released from jail, not just by bail bond. However, it’s also possible that some defendants may not be granted any form of release and must await their first arraignment.

Booking Process

When a defendant has been arrested, they will be transported to the local sheriff / police station or County jail. While there they will be “booked” into the system.

This process generally entails taking the arrestees fingerprints, conducting a “Live Scan,” photographs, and background checks for warrants, parole or probation holds, or immigration holds. At the smaller stations and jails, the process can take from 2 to 4 hours. At some of the larger County jails, the process can take even longer.

Some of the options for release from jail are:
Bail Bonds

The “surety contract” or “bail bond” allows for the release of the defendant through the services of a bail bondsman. The bail bondsman, along with the signer/indemnitor take on the responsibility of offering the court a guarantee that the defendant will meet all court responsibilities and obligations.

Own Recognizance  (otherwise known as, “O.R.”)

When someone is released on their “Own Recognizance,” or O.R, the judge has granted them the option to be released with the written promise that he / she will be responsible for attending all of their required court dates.

When the decision to release a defendant on O.R. is made, the judge will have taken into consideration the severity of the crime, the defendant’s past criminal history, safety to the public, their employment situation, if they have family/local community ties, and the probability of the defendant fleeing. It is important to know that even when the defendant satisfies all of these conditions, release on “O.R.” is not always guaranteed to them.

Property Bond

A property bond involves encumbering a house/real estate to secure the bond. The caveat is that the home must have as much as 150% equity to equal the bail amount which has been set. Property bonds are very similar to purchasing or refinancing a home.

It can be a long, detailed process which involves escrow, etc., and can take several weeks, possibly months to complete and also comes with fees attached. Should the defendant fail to make all of their court mandated agreements, the court will have the right to foreclose on the property.

Cash Bond

With a cash bond, the defendant/indemnitor will pay for the full face amount of the bail.  For example, if the bail was set at $25,000, the entire amount would be paid to the court for the release of the detainee.  It is usually paid in the form of money order, cashier’s check and sometimes cash.

This amount will be held until the defendant’s case is complete. When the case is finished, the entire $25,000 would be returned (minus any administrative fees.) The downside is the money can be held for months before it is returned. Also, should the defendant fail to make all required court appearances, the judge can order the cash bail forfeited. The money will be held and may not get it back.

Citation Release (or “cited out”):

When someone is “cited out” it means they are released with a promise for them to appear in court. It also means the court trusts them enough to get back to court when ordered on the specific date. A Citation Release is generally used for traffic violations and infractions which may be minor in nature. The defendant must oblige by all of their court mandates, because if they do not, it is likely a warrant will be issued for their arrest.

Additional Information

For additional information see our informative bail FAQ’s page. You can also contact a knowledgeable agent 24 hours a day at toll-free 877-422-4591. They are always happy to answer any of your questions.