Being charged with a crime can be a frightening experience. Whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony, you could be placed in handcuffs and taken to jail. When that happens, it is important to know the process so that you can protect your rights and get out of jail as quickly as possible.
The Savannah Jail Process
When you first arrive at the jail, your fingerprints and a “mug shot” will be taken immediately. You will then be placed in a holding cell and, depending on the charge, you may eventually be placed in a cellblock with other inmates. The most important thing you can do during this process is to stay calm and keep quiet. You have the right to remain silent, and when you are at the jail, you should definitely exercise that right. In Savannah and at most every jail in Georgia, everything you do and say is being monitored and recorded. Anything that you say or do could affect your case, so it is best to be calm, polite, and quiet.
Posting Your Bond
Once you have been booked into the jail, the most important thing is getting out quickly. Within 24 to 48 hours, a bond hearing must be held to determine if you can be released after posting a certain amount of bond. The bond hearing is often an informal proceeding that occurs at the jail in front of a visiting judge. Once bond has been set, you can then either post your own bond or contact a bonding company for help. Bonding companies are usually open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The best bonding companies are often located close to the jail so that there will be no delay in posting your bond and securing your release. Most bonding companies will require you to put up 10% of your total bond in order for them to cover the rest of the bonding amount. A $5,000 bond, for example, would require you to post $500 of your own money in order for the bonding company to help you.
Arguing Your Bond
Sometimes there can be problems with the bonding process. Your bond may be unreasonably high or, if you are facing multiple or serious charges, you may be prevented from posting bond. This is when it is especially important to have an attorney who is knowledgeable about the various strategies to use in getting a reasonable bond set for you. I routinely argue motions to either set or reduce a bond so that my clients can get out of jail sooner. There are numerous factors that go into a successful argument for a bond setting, including the client’s background, family life, and ties to the community. The factors can differ from judge to judge, so it is certainly beneficial to have a lawyer who is familiar with all of the judges in the area.
Once your bond has been paid, you will be released from jail. I typically get together with my clients as soon after their release as possible so that we can get started working on their case. The earlier we get started, the sooner we can craft your defense and work on getting your life back.