How Bail Works (A Step by Step Guide)

How Bail Works

Understanding The Bail Bond Process

The judicial system can be overwhelming when it involves the bail bond process. Individuals who find themselves or a loved one requiring a bail bond are best equipped when they learn the nuances of the process.

As El Reno’s trusted bail bonds provider, Connie Holt Bail Bonds LLC has a wealth of knowledge to help educate people in your position.

The guide below aims to inform and educate people needing bail bonds and perhaps also provide some solace in their time of legal need.

Stages of The Bail Bond Process

Arrests are often extremely overwhelming experiences both for the defendant and their families. Not only because of the initial shock but because of the subsequent legal proceedings that can drain your energy and optimism. As a result, a comprehensive understanding of the bail bond process and how bail works is vital for getting through it.

Each step in the process involves legal protocols intended to uphold the law. In the following guide, we outline each stage, from the initial arrest and booking process to the prosecutor’s review and the setting of the bail amount. Finally, we outline how to contact a bail agent properly and come through the process in a best-case scenario.

You Are Arrested

The police perform their initial procedures that include:

  • Searching for weapons or drugs
  • Reading you your Miranda Rights
  • Confiscating any property you may have on you at the time of the arrest
  • Making you sign an inventory form before you’re taken to the jail

You Are Booked

You are booked, which involves:

  • Fingerprinting and photographing
  • Asked to provide basic details, such as the date of birth and address
  • Depending on the circumstances of the crime for which you were arrested, you’ll be asked to participate in a police line-up or give your handwriting sample
  • You’re then placed in jail, presumably until your trial, which could be months down the line

Your Case is Sent to a Prosecutor

After booking, your case is sent to a prosecutor who decides:

  • Whether or not to proceed with the prosecution
  • If they want to prosecute,  you’ll be arraigned

Bail is Set

Depending on the crime, bail may be offered according to a bail schedule or only after arraignment

  • It’s better to wait for the arraignment, which usually happens within 72 hours of the arrest
  • This way, a lower bail may be set at the arraignment than what has been suggested by the bail schedule
  • If you decide to wait until after your arraignment, you’ll be asked to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendere or no contest, which means you are agreeing to a conviction without admitting guilt
  • At this point in time, if your bail has not been arranged already, the judge will determine the bail

You Contact a Bail Agent

  • Contact a bail agent as soon as you are offered bail to strategize your approach
  • Once you accept bail and make bond arrangements, you’ll be released

How Bail Amount is Determined

The bail amount is determined by the judicial system, which considers factors like character, criminal history, and employment status. Other considerations include community involvement and drug abuse or addiction.


The judgment of character is primarily evaluated by reputation and “the perception of reliability.” In addition, employment and employment history can either positively or negatively influence the bail amount. A steady job is one way to demonstrate stability and a low risk of flight.

Community Involvement

As for community involvement, relationships with locals and family members often reflect the defendant’s ties to the area. This is another way to evaluate what is called “flight risk. However, the most critical factor when determining bail amount is the seriousness of the alleged crime itself.

Crime Severity

A non-violent and minor offense often leads to a more affordable bail amount. Conversely, severe and violent crimes, especially by those with a history of similar offenses, often lead to higher bail amounts. The judicial process’s risk calculation between public safety and the presumption of innocence significantly affects the set bail amount.

The Bail Bond Payments Process

After bail is set, people can pay the court directly or seek out a bail bondsman (as noted in the above process outline). Let’s compare the options below:

Cash Payment

People can pay the total bail amount in cash to the court, which then holds the money as “surety” until the bail conditions are met. For example, the defendant appears at all required court dates for the determined period. Once this process is completed, the court returns the cash.

Bail Bondsman

Most people cannot afford to pay the bail amount in cash, which requires them to seek out the services of a bail agent (like Connie Holt Bail Bonds LLC). A bail bondsman is allowed to pay the bail on behalf of the defendant in exchange for a percentage of the fee.

Choosing The Right Bail Agent

While most bail companies are ethical, it’s vital to safeguard you and your family from bad actors within the bail industry by exercising caution. The most obvious red flag is an unlicensed bail bondsman. This is a non-negotiable, as you should never work with an unlicensed or uncredentialed bondsman.

Request License Verification

You have the right to verify the bondsman’s license and ID before completing or engaging in a transaction. This helps protect you or a family member from fraud and is essential due diligence in the bail bond process.

Standard Premiums

A 10% bail bond premium is considered industry standard. Bail companies that try to increase that percentage or include additional fees should not be trusted. In addition, every transaction should be itemized and transparent. Throughout the process, ask for copies of every contract, agreement, and receipt.

Transparent Financing

Some bail agents may offer financing plans for the premium, in which case a clear and comprehensive outline of the agreement’s terms and conditions should be made available. Before signing any financing documentation, ensure copies will be available for your records.

Trust and transparency are paramount in your relationship with any bail bonds agent. It’s not “being paranoid” to question them about the things discussed in this guide. If they fail to address your concerns adequately, it reflects poorly on their business.

Seeking Support for the Bail Bond Process

With a better understanding of the bail process, you can now navigate the process for you or your family member with more confidence. Still, you don’t have to do it alone. Connie Holt Bail Bonds LLC can assist you with the bail bond process in El Reno, OK.

Our team understands the overwhelming stress that accompanies legal problems and is equipped to streamline the entire process. Get in touch with us to learn more about our expertise and how we can assist you with bail bonds.