Being arrested, taken into custody, and given a series of court dates are overwhelming and emotional processes. Not knowing what’s going to happen, if you will be sentenced to years in jail, not knowing what will happen with your job or relationships, all of the waiting — it can seem like it will never be over. In this situation, it’s best to take it one step at a time, rather than getting caught up in the “when will it all be over?” question.
At ASAP Bail Bonds in Gwinnett County, we understand that it can be a long process, but we have helped countless defendants through each step. We are a bail bond service, providing bail bonds for people who were arrested and need to get out of jail, but we also help make sure that defendants know what each step of the process is, what your responsibilities are, and how to prepare for each step. If you were arrested, ASAP Bail Bonds provides 24-hour bail bond services, and we can help you get back to living your life as quickly as possible.
What is a Bail Hearing?
In some cases where the defendant committed a low-level offense or misdemeanor, bail can be set by the arresting officer based on bail schedules. In these cases, you’ll know sooner what the bail amount is and you can call a bail bondsman so you can be released from custody. When you don’t have to wait for a judge to determine the bail amount, this part of the process is easier and quicker.
However, when the arresting officer cannot determine the bail amount, it’s up to a judge to make the decision. In most cases, a judge is not immediately available, so a bail hearing is scheduled.
The bail hearing is your first court appearance and involves the judge, the prosecutor, and a defense attorney who will be defending your case. Both the prosecutor and the defense attorney will make recommendations to the judge for what they believe bail should be set at, if at all. The defense attorney will do what they can to make sure that bail is set as low as possible, or that no bail is set and you can be released on your own recognizance. The judge will then make a decision regarding the type of bail and the amount. Overall, there’s nothing that can be done in order to prepare for this hearing as your defense attorney will speak for you on your behalf.
Entering a Plea
If a misdemeanor offense was committed, the defendant is asked to enter a plea, either guilty, not guilty, or no contest, meaning that you accept a conviction, but you aren’t pleading guilty or admitting guilt. When a felony offense has been committed, a preliminary hearing will be scheduled.
This court appearance is held in order for the prosecutor to prove to the judge that there is enough evidence to show probable cause that a felony was committed. Evidence can be brought, witnesses can be interviewed, and the defense attorney can also cross-examine the witness(es). This hearing is essentially a trial, but the purpose is to give the judge enough information to decide whether or not the defendant needs to go to trial before a jury. There is still the possibility of charges being dropped or to come to a plea agreement.
When the judge decides there is enough evidence to pursue a case, this hearing is when the defendant is officially charged and enters a plea (if it wasn’t already entered in misdemeanor cases). After the arraignment, there is an opportunity to settle the case with a plea deal. Oftentimes, the defendant must plead guilty in order to receive a lower sentence.
If a plea deal is not agreed to, the case will go to trial before a jury, and prosecutors and defense attorneys will argue their cases. At the end of the trial, the jury will find the defendant guilty or not guilty. When there are multiple offenses, the defendant can be found guilty of all, some, or none of the charges. After the trial, there will be a sentencing hearing where the court will decide the official penalties for the conviction. At this point, if you paid any money to a bail bondsman, it will be returned, even if you are found guilty.
This process from start to finish can last months, making it very important that you can be released from custody. In felony cases, bail could be upwards of $10,000, which is a significant amount of money, especially when defendants need to come up with the funds right away. That’s where ASAP Bail Bonds comes in. If you or your family or friends can’t afford bail, we’ll make sure you can be released from custody. ASAP Bail Bonds offers some of the lowest fees in Gwinnett County, so you don’t have to worry about going broke paying for the service.
The important thing to note is that when you have made all of your court appearances, the money will be returned, regardless of whether you are found guilty or not. ASAP Bail Bonds is passionate about helping defendants live their life while going through this process. It can be long, and it’s essential that you can keep your job during this time, so we’re here to help. If you live in the Gwinnett County area and have been arrested, get in touch with our bail bondsman right away. We can make sure you are aware of your responsibilities throughout the process.