Arraignment is a part of the criminal justice process that many people talk about, but very few people actually explain. When someone is arrested in Ohio on suspicion of committing a crime, arraignment will be one of the first things they go through after that arrest.
What is Arraignment?
Arraignment is the term for a person’s first court appearance after an arrest. In Ohio, typically the amount of bail is set by a judge at arraignment. It is common for defendants and their families and friends to seek out the services of a bail bond agent in Columbus, Ohio after an arraignment concludes.
The purpose of an arraignment is for a defendant to formally hear the charges against them and enter a plea. An arraignment is not a trial, there is no evidence presented or arguments made.
In some cases involving minor misdemeanor charges, a defendant may not even need to appear at an arraignment if their attorney is present to hear the charges and enter a plea on their behalf.
Entering a Plea At Arraignment
By far the most important thing for a defendant to do at arraignment is enter a plea, whether they plan to find affordable bail bonds in Columbus or not. This happens after the charges have been formally described and constitutional rights under the law have been explained, and will determine whether the case moves forward to trial.
There are three plea options at arraignment:
- The defendant admits to the charges brought against them. This will essentially close the case and avoid a trial. The judge may enter sentencing immediately after a guilty verdict or set a hearing for sentencing at a later date.
- Not Guilty
- The defendant denies the charges and maintains that they did not commit the crimes they are accused of. This will not necessarily lead directly to a trial – there are more steps in-between – but it will continue the legal process leading up to a trial.
- Nolo Contendere (No Contest)
- In a nolo contendere plea, the defendant claims that they did not commit the crime in question. However, similar to a guilty plea, this plea indicates that a defendant cannot fight or refute the charges brought against them, and will accept sentencing for the crime.
How to Get Bond Money Back After Arraignment
One of the biggest questions for people, whether they work with a bail bond service in Columbus or not, is about how to get bond money back.
The good news about having a bail amount set at arraignment is that it is intended to be temporary. Bail money is essentially held as collateral to ensure that a defendant will appear for their scheduled court appearances. As long as the defendant appears at all necessary court appearances, the bail money will be returned at the end of the process, regardless of the verdict.
In fact, if a defendant enters a plea of guilty or nolo contendere, bail will be returned almost immediately. However, if a defendant fails to make regular court appearances related to their case, bail money will not be returned at any point.
Paying Cash Bail
When cash bail is paid out-of-pocket, assuming all court appearances are made properly, that money will all be returned at the end of the trial or criminal proceedings.
However, bail amounts can be as little as a few hundred dollars or as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on a number of factors including severity of the charges – felony bond conditions are typically more difficult to meet than for misdemeanors.
Paying By Surety Bond
It is often not feasible to pay a large cash bail out of pocket, and that’s why it’s so important to find a reputable bail bond service in Columbus.
When a defendant or their loved one posts bail using bail bonds in Columbus, Ohio, they often obtain what’s called a surety bond. This allows them to pay 10% of the amount of total bail to a bail bond agent in Columbus, and the bondsman in Columbus will cover the rest of the bail. The downside of a surety bond is that at the conclusion of the trial, they do not receive the 10% back – this is kept by the bond agent as the fee for service – but at no point do they have to pay the full amount of the bail.
This is a much more attainable way for many people to post bail on large amounts, and HB Bail Bonds even offers no money down bail bonds in Ohio so they can pay that 10% over time!
If you are in need of bail bonds in Columbus, Ohio, Dayton, Cincinnati or any of the surrounding areas, contact HB Bail Bonds today and let us help you or your loved one post bail after arraignment!