DUI - Booking and Bail
Processing a DUI Suspect
After a suspect has been arrested they will be taken into police custody and 'booked' or 'charged' and 'processed'. When 'booking' a suspect the police officer will compile an arrest report and will typically do the following:
- Search the suspect (either a 'pat down' search or full body search depending on circumstances)
- Confiscate and make notes of suspects personal possessions (keys, purse/wallet, money etc) - these will be returned upon release from police custody
- Take and make note of the criminal suspects personal details (name, address, drivers license number, sex, hair color, eye color, height, weight, age etc.)
- Make notes about the arrest and alleged crime (the date suspect was arrested, the location of the arrest, who read the suspect their rights, description of circumstances surrounding the arrest, time suspect arrived in custody, time suspect was booked, crime the suspect has been charged with)
- Take suspects fingerprints (which are normally entered onto a national database)
- Take a photograph of the suspect (a mug shot)
The whole booking process can take up to an hour. Many states allow the suspect one or more free local calls which can be used to contact attorneys, friends, families or bail bonds people.
Bail - Bailing a Drunk Driving Suspect
Before and if a drunk driving suspect is released after they have been booked, they may be required to post (pay) for bail. Bail is cash or its equivalent (a bail bond) that must be paid in order for the suspect to be released until the conclusion of the case against them.
Bail is an incentive for suspects to show up at all required court appearances. If a suspect who has been released on bail fails to show up for a court appearance then any bail that has been posted will be lost or as is the case with bail bonds, the cash will be collected. An arrest warrant will also be issued on the suspect in this case and they will be charged with 'bail jumping' as well as the original offense.
What if a suspect isn't granted immediate bail?
If a suspect is not granted immediate bail after booking at the police station, they will have to wait to go up before a judge in order for a bail hearing.
Suspects held in custody should not have to wait more than 48 hours for this to happen. This does not include weekends and holidays in which case it could be more than 48 hours. Sometimes however, a bail hearing for a suspect arrested in the morning could very well be held on the afternoon of the same day.
How much will bail be?
The amount of bail to be paid may be set by a 'bail schedule' or it may be determined by a judge at court at a bail hearing.
If a drunk driving suspect is not allowed to post bail immediately after being booked at the police station. The amount of bail a judge will set will depend on:
- The suspects criminal history including previous DUI / drunk driving offenses
- The seriousness of the DUI offense (e.g. whether any injury or fatalities were caused and if any aggravating factors were present)
- The suspects ties to the community, do they have close family ties? Are they in full time steady employment? (in other words are they likely to disappear never to return)
Predetermined 'bail schedules' and the amount these are set at for drunk driving offenses will vary from state to state.
What if a suspect cannot afford to pay for bail?
A bail bond can be used in lieu of posting cash bail and are available from bail bonds sellers. Bail bond sellers typically provide a written guarantee to the courts that in the event of the DUI suspect not attending court on a specific date as required, the bail bond sellers will be liable to pay the bail amount in full to the courts.
Bail bond agencies will typically charge a 10% fee for providing this service. So if a suspects bail was posted at $1,000, instead of paying the full cash amount, the suspect could purchase a bail bond for $100 from a bail bond company. The $100 is non refundable, it is the bail bonds companies fee for posting bail on behalf of the suspect.
Bail bond sellers often ask for collateral on any bail bonds issued, in addition to the 10% fee. This is because if a suspect 'jumps bail' and doesn't turn up at court, the bail bond sellers are responsible for paying the full bail amount to the courts, the figure could be substantial in some cases. Collateral could be in the form of a house or car.
Court Financed Bail
Some states offer an option of court financed bail. This is very similar to purchasing a bail bond off a private bail bond company. Court financed bail typically involves the suspect paying 10% of the bail amount to the courts rather than a private bail bonds seller.
The difference between court financed bail and privately financed bail is that the courts actually reimburse the suspect with the 10% fee less administration costs if all court dates are kept.
Own Recognizance Release
O.R. release is no cost bail. Suspects who are released on their own recognizance need only to sign a written agreement that they will turn up at court as required to do so.
A judges decision whether or not to grant own recognizance release will depend on the same factors on deciding on a cash bail amount. Including previous criminal history, prior DUI drunk driving convictions, the seriousness of the DUI / drunk driving offense, whether any aggravating factors were present and a suspects ties to the community and local area.
Temporary Driving Permit
When a suspect is arrested and charged with DUI the police will usually take their drivers license and issue them with a temporary driving permit.
The temporary permit is usually valid until a decision is made at court or at a DMV hearing as to whether or not a suspects drivers license will be suspended or revoked.