When a suspect is arrested, he is booked or processed. During booking, an officer takes down personal information about the suspect, records information about the crime, and takes the suspect’s fingerprints.
The suspect is searched and placed in a holding cell. If the arrest is for a minor offence, he may be released by simply signing a document promising to appear in court. This is referred to as an “own recognizance release.” When the crime is severe, and a written promise is not enough, bail is then required.
In such a case, a bail hearing is held, during which the judge decides how much bail must be paid. This decision is based on the severity of the crime, the suspect’s past criminal history, what ties the suspect has to the community, and whether he has the financial resources and ability to flee from the Country if released from custody.
Bail set for someone with no criminal history, a good job, and a stable family is likely to be set lower than for an individual committing the same crime, who has an extensive criminal history, and no family or stable job.