If authorities have reason to believe that you have committed a crime, you may go to jail following an arrest. However, this does not necessarily mean you will remain in jail for an extended period.

Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to arrange for your own release. Another possible scenario is that an official may make a decision to release you from custody. In either case, you usually need to return to court at a later date.

Bail bonds

Following your arrest, the judge may determine a bail amount. If you post enough money, you are free to go for the time being, though you will have to return for your arraignment. Bail bonds usually amount in the thousands of dollars. You may need to ask the assistance of a bail bond company to post it for you. This will cost you a fee, usually 7% to 10% of the amount of the bond.

If you have equity in a property that is worth more than double the amount of the bail bond, you can post a property bond. If you have the means, you can also post bail yourself. Once the case resolves, you will receive almost the total amount back, less any administrative fees, which are usually minimal.

Recognizance release

It may not be necessary to post a bail bond. A judge may decide independently to set you free from jail while you await trial. The legal term for this is releasing you on your own recognizance. It requires you to make a promise to the court that you will return for your scheduled arraignment. It is very important for you to keep your promise. There are consequences for missing your arraignment, and it could mean more time in jail.

Citation release

If your alleged offense was relatively minor, authorities can release you by issuing you a citation. This can happen at the scene of the alleged crime or later at the jail.