How Long Does it Take to See a Judge

Getting arrested starts an entire series of hardships and consequences that a person must face. People are often left sitting in jail wondering when they can see a judge so that they can learn their bail amount – but this is not always necessary. Regardless of the situation, there are standards in the legal systems of most states and localities that dictate how long a person will be in jail before seeing a judge. People who are being held on federal charges actually have a law on their side stating when their arraignment must take place. There are circumstances when a person can get out of jail before seeing a judge, but people usually can’t take advantage of these legal nuances if they do not know of them.

When Can You See a Judge After Being Arrested?

There is no set federal law that tells states and localities when they must arraign a defendant, but most areas provide the accused with their first appearance in front of a judge between 48 and 72 hours after booking. This time frame will vary greatly depending on how busy a specific jail is and when a person was arrested. Many areas do not hold court on weekends or holidays, so if a person is arrested around either of these times, they may be held for a bit longer than usual.

If a person is arrested on federal charges, federal law requires they be given their initial arraignment within 48 hours of their arrest. This will also vary if a person is arrested on a weekend or holiday, but the time doesn’t exceed 72 hours. 

In both local and federal courts, a person is informed of the crime they are being charged with and expected to enter a plea. If a person enters a “guilty” or “nolo contendere” plea, then they may be sentenced immediately. If a “not guilty” plea is entered, then the judge will inform the defendant of the bail amount, if any, that they must post before leaving jail.

How Long Can You Be Held in Jail Before Seeing a Judge?

If a person makes bail, is granted “release on recognizance,” or is being held for extradition proceedings, then they can be detained before an arraignment. If the defendant has not been indicted within 48 hours of their arrest, they must be brought before a magistrate for an initial appearance. During this first appearance, the defendant will be informed of the charges against them and whether they can post a bond to be released while awaiting trial.

If a “not guilty” plea is entered, the judge may consider various release conditions depending on the circumstances. These might include an ankle monitor or house arrest. There are many factors that go into determining bail including, but not limited to: flight risk, criminal history, prior failures to appear in court on any charges (especially violent crime), and the nature of the charge.

How Long Does It Take for Bail To Be Set?

When you can see a judge and are given a specific bail amount, you can get out of jail as soon as you post that amount. 

It isn’t, however, always necessary for a person to wait in jail before seeing a judge. In most areas, certain crimes have a preset bail amount, known as a bail schedule, which can be posted before a person ever sees a judge. In these instances, the defendant can be released without ever seeing the inside of a courtroom.

Bail amounts – even preset ones – may seem excessive, but bail costs in America are high in general. If a person has the available funds to post their own bail, then they may do so. 

In most cases, however, a person will likely be better off if they contact a bail agent. These agents are usually able to get a person released from jail within hours of being contacted. If a person is able to use a bail agency, they may be out of jail before missing any work at all. Bail agents only charge a 10%fee of the bail amount, so they are much cheaper than if a person tried to post their own bail.

Going to jail is a stressful situation for anyone. It can affect a person’s job, family, and freedom. Seeing a judge for arraignment is the right of every person accused of a crime, but the time frame in which this occurs is usually in a gray area in local matters. A person who knows their rights is far more likely to get out of jail in a short amount of time. 

Many crimes carry with them set bail amounts; this means bail agents can have a person out of jail in a matter of hours. It is important that a person contact a bond agency as soon as they get their phone call after arrest to see if their charge has a set bond amount. If it does, then a person can continue attending to the responsibilities in their life without allowing their arrest to seriously affect them.

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