MY LOVED ONE WAS ARRESTED: WHAT HAPPENS NOW?

Here are some things you should know if your loved one was just arrested.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE BOOKING PROCESS?


QUICK GLANCE: WHAT HAPPENS AFTER ARREST?

  1. If your loved one is arrested, they will be taken to jail.
  2. When they get to jail, they will go through booking. They will have an opportunity to contact you within three hours of booking.
  3. In some cases, you may post bail and have them released immediately.
  4. If bail isn’t posted, they will be detained for about 48 hours (sometimes up to five days) until arraignment.
  5. At arraignment the process follows this order:
    Step 1: the district attorney will decide whether to file charges;
    Step 2: your loved one will give their plea;
    Step 3: bail will be decided; and
    Step 4: a court date will be set.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARREST AND BOOKING

The first thing that will happen is booking. Officers will collect your loved one’s personal information, fingerprint them, search them, and confiscate their personal items.

HOW DO I FIND MY LOVED ONE?

The most common way to locate your loved one is through the website operated by the sheriff in whose county your loved one was arrested. There may be a section called “inmate locator” or “who’s in jail” or “who’s in custody” depending on the site.

You should search all names and aliases your loved one has used.

If you cannot find this search tool, you can also call the sheriff’s office. See the below or last page of the brochure for a list of sheriff offices by county.

HOW DO I CONTACT MY LOVED ONE?

Your loved one will get three free local calls within three hours of being arrested. The call will be at your expense (a collect call) if your phone number is not local to the jail from which your loved one is calling. Keep your phone available and be prepared to answer their call. Your loved one may also use their calls to contact a lawyer or anyone else they need to reach.

Phone calls ARE recorded, so DO NOT discuss the case over the phone. For example, DO NOT ask your loved one if they are guilty or innocent.

JAILHOUSE RELEASE


SHOULD I BAIL MY LOVED ONE OUT RIGHT AWAY?

Your loved one may have the option to post bail right after booking. The bail amount will be based on the charges for which they were originally arrested, even if the charges are later dropped or lowered.

Here are some things you need to know:

  • If you choose to bail your loved one out right away, they will not need to wait in jail until arraignment.
  • At arraignment, the district attorney will decide whether or not to charge your loved one. The judge may lower, raise, or keep the bail the same.
  • The judge may also release your loved one without financial conditions.
  • If you purchased a bail bond, it is nonrefundable, even if the judge releases your loved one at arraignment or the charges are dropped.

You might want to think about:

  • Does my loved one need to be out right away (work, childcare, etc.)?
  • Can they get released without having to pay anything if they wait in jail until arraignment? (see next section)
  • How will spending as much as five days in jail affect my loved one?
  • Will I be able to make all bail bond payments (even if charges are dropped or your loved one is released)?

CAN MY LOVED ONE GET RELEASED WITHOUT HAVING TO PAY FOR MONEY BAIL?

Own Recognizance Release

The judge will determine if your loved one is eligible for Own Recognizance Release (OR) at the arraignment. OR release means you do not have to pay bail.
Instead, your loved one will sign a promise to return to court.

When deciding whether to grant OR release, judges consider:

  • How likely is your loved one to return to court;
  • Your loved one’s ties to the community; and
  • Whether your loved one is a threat to public safety.

Your loved one may not be eligible for OR if they are accused of a violent or serious felony, have a prior criminal record, or have failed to appear in court in the past.

How you can help:

The best thing you can do to support your loved one is have as many family/community members as possible attend the arraignment. This can show the judge that your loved one has strong ties to the community.

You can write a one-page document for the public defender that includes: your loved one’s contact information, a list of family members, your contact information, and where your loved one lives and for how long they’ve lived there.

 

HOW DO BAIL BONDS WORK?


WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW BEFORE BUYING A BAIL BOND?

How do bail bonds work?

A bail bond company will help you post bail in exchange for a nonrefundable fee (usually 10% of the bail amount).

For example, if bail is set at $50,000, the bail agent will charge a nonrefundable fee of $5,000. They might not make you put up the full 10% to get out of jail. Instead, they might offer you a payment plan.

What are you getting into?

Using a bail bond company’s services requires entering a legally binding contract. They may require you to:

  • Sign over legal rights for property, like homes or cars;
  • Have additional people sign the contract (called co-signers or indemnitors); and/or
  • Enter into a payment plan that can last for several years.

What happens if your loved one doesn’t show up to court?

  • Anyone who signed the contract will be responsible for the full bail amount (e.g. the full $50,000);
  • The bail bond company can take possession of your home or car and collect debt from anyone who signed the contract.

TIPS FOR DEALING WITH BAIL BOND COMPANIES

Keep a copy of everything you get from the bail bond company!

Look at every part of your contract, ESPECIALLY:

  • How much will you owe?
  • What dates will you need to make payments?
  • How can you make payments? Cash? Checks?
  • What other conditions are part of the agreement?
  • What happens if you don’t meet all of the conditions? Can the bail bond company take your property?
  • Can the bail bond company have your loved one taken into custody and, if so, under what conditions?

MAKE SURE YOUR LOVED ONE MAKES ALL COURT DATES!

If for any reason your loved one can’t keep a court date, make sure they get in touch with their attorney right away.

Can you pay the full bail amount without a bail bond?

Yes, you can also pay the full bail amount (e.g. $50,000) directly to the court or jail. If you post the full amount of bail, it is refunded (minus some court fees) if your loved one shows up to court. If they do not show up to court, you owe the full amount (just as you would owe a bail bond company).

Download the PDF version of the information above, here.

HOW TO USE ONLINE INMATE LOCATOR TOOLS

Los Angeles County

To locate someone arrested in Los Angeles County:

  • Go to: http://app5.lasd.org/iic/ajis_search.cfm.
  • Enter your loved one’s first and last name, and date of birth;
  • Try all names and aliases your loved one has used.
    • There might be a delay if they have not gone through processing. You may have to wait several hours or try again the next day.
  • If their name appears in the search results, click on their “Booking Number” (located to the left of their name).
  • Under “Housing Location,” you can see where they are currently detained and the phone number to reach the facility for visitation.
  • You can also see the bail amount (if it has been set) and their next court date.

San Diego County

To locate someone arrested in San Diego County:

  • Go to: https://apps.sdsheriff.net/wij/WijAList.aspx.
  • Enter your loved one’s first and last name.
  • Try all names and aliases your loved one has used.
    • There might be a delay if they have not gone through processing. You may have to wait several hours or try again the next day.
  • If their name appears in the search results with their correct birthday, click on their last name, which will open a page with more information.
  • Under “Housing Location;”
    • Click “Facility Information and Directions” to find the address of the facility where they are located.
    • Click “Public Visiting Guidelines,” to view visitation rules.
    • Click “Visiting Schedule” to see when you are allowed to visit.
  • You can also see the bail amount (if it has been set) and their next court date.

Orange County

To locate someone arrested in Orange County:

  • Go to: http://www.ocgov.com/gov/sheriff/howdoi/eservices/inmate.asp.
  • Enter your loved one’s first and last name, age, and gender.
  • Try all names and aliases your loved one has used.
    • There might be a delay if they have not gone through processing. You may have to wait several hours or try again the next day.
  • If their name appears in the search results, click on their “Booking Number” (located to the left of their name).
  • The results will say whether they are “released” or “in custody.”
  • Click “Housing Location,” to see where they are currently detained and the facility address and phone number.
  • You can also see the bail amount (if it has been set) and their next court date.

Riverside County

To locate someone arrested in Riverside County:

  • Go to: http://jimspub.riversidesheriff.org/.
  • Enter your loved one’s first and last name, date of birth, and gender.
  • Try all names and aliases your loved one has used.
    • There might be a delay if they have not gone through processing. You may have to wait several hours or try again the next day.
  • If their name appears in the search results, click on their “Booking Number” (located to the left of their name).
  • The results will say whether they are “released” or “in custody.”
  • Click “Current Facility,” to can see where they are currently detained.
  • On the right side of the page, click “Public Visiting Guidelines” (located on the right side of the page) to see visiting and facility information.
  • You can also see the bail amount (if it has been set) and their next court date.

San Bernardino County

To locate someone arrested in San Bernardino County:

  • Go to: http://web.sbcounty.gov/sheriff/bookingsearch/bookingsearch.aspx.
  • Enter your loved one’s first and last name, age, and gender. You can also enter their booking number if you know it.
  • Try all names and aliases your loved one has used.
    • There might be a delay if they have not gone through processing. You may have to wait several hours or try again the next day.
  • Click their name if it appears in the search results.
  • The results will say whether they are “released” or “in custody.”
  • Click “Housing Facility,” to can see where they are currently detained.
    • Underneath you will see a link to “Click here for visitor information.”
    • There is also an option to send money or send mail to your loved one.
  • You can also see their next court date.

SHERIFF OFFICES BY COUNTY:

  • Alameda (510) 272-6878
  • Alpine (530) 694-2231
  • Amador (209) 223-6521
  • Butte (530) 538-7321
  • Calaveras (209) 754-6499
  • Colusa (530) 458-0205
  • Contra Costa (925) 335-1500
  • Del Norte (707) 464-4191
  • El Dorado (530) 573-3000
  • Fresno (888) 373-7011
  • Glenn (530) 934-6441
  • Humboldt (707) 445-7251
  • Imperial (442) 265-2220
  • Inyo (760) 878-0370
  • Kern (800) 844-6591
  • Kings (206) 296-4155
  • Lake (707) 262-4240
  • Lassen (530) 251-5245
  • Los Angeles (213) 473-6100
  • Madera (559) 675-7770
  • Marin (415) 473-7250
  • Mariposa (209) 966-3615
  • Mendocino (707) 463-4423
  • Merced (209) 385-7410
  • Modoc (530) 233-4416
  • Mono (760) 932-7549
  • Monterey (831) 755-3700
  • Napa (707) 253-4401
  • Nevada (530) 265-1218
  • Orange (714) 647-4666
  • Placer (530) 889-4000
  • Plumas (530) 283-6267
  • Riverside (951) 955-2400
  • Sacramento (916) 874-6752
  • San Benito (831) 636-4060
  • San Bernardino (909) 386-0969
  • San Diego (858) 974-2222
  • San Francisco (415) 554-7225
  • San Joaquin (209) 468-4310
  • San Luis Obsipo (805) 781-4600
  • San Mateo (650) 216-7676
  • Santa Barbara (805) 681-4100
  • Santa Clara (800) 211-2220
  • Santa Cruz (831) 454-7800
  • Shasta (530) 245-6100
  • Sierra (530) 289-3700
  • Siskiyou (530) 841-2900
  • Solano (707) 784-7100
  • Sonoma (707) 565-2650
  • Stanislaus (209) 525-7114
  • Sutter (530) 822-7307
  • Tehama (530) 529-7910
  • Trinity (530) 623-2611
  • Tulare (559) 802-9400
  • Tuolumne (888) 243-9939
  • Ventura (805) 654-3335
  • Yolo (530) 668-5245
  • Yuba (530) 749-7777

The ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties fights for individual rights and fundamental freedoms for all through education, litigation, & policy advocacy.