In Tennessee, an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) includes a mandatory jail sentence, even for first time offenders. If you’re arrested and charged with a DUI, you’ll be taken immediately to jail, and you will remain there until you, or someone on your behalf, posts a bail bond. Here’s what you need to know to get home.
After you are taken into custody, the arresting officer must apply for an arrest warrant to justify your apprehension. During this procedure a judge, commissioner, or magistrate will set the amount of bail you will have to post in order to be released. Usually this process takes a few hours but could be longer if you’re arrested on a weekend or holiday. Bail is an agreement or bond with the court and is usually a straightforward process if you’re charged with a DUI. The court will release you from jail if you agree to return for all scheduled activities about your arrest.
Several bail bonding methods are possible. The best result is being released on your own recognizance, without having to post any bail money, but this is extremely rare in DUI arrests.
In virtually all DUI arrests the arrested person has to post a bail bond. This means the court system has determined a set amount of money that must be paid or pledged before you are released from jail.
Thus, one option is to post a cash bond, putting up all the money required by the court to get released. When the bond amount is high of course, this may not be financially possible. If it is possible, the advantage of paying a cash bond is that you get the entire amount back at the conclusion of your case.
Where a cash bond is not possible, a second option is to hire a bonding company. The bonding company charges you 10% of the bail amount and some fees to guarantee you will attend all court appointments. In exchange for this fee, the bonding company will essentially pledge on your behalf that you will appear for all future court dates. Unlike paying a cash bond, however, you will not get moneys paid to a bonding company at the conclusion of your case.
Often, those charged with DUI have special conditions imposed by the court system that must be strictly followed in exchange for being free on bond while the case is pending. These special conditions are typically imposed if this is a second or subsequent arrest for DUI, if there was an accident associated with the DUI arrest, if the person has another pending driving offense, or is on probation for a driving offense. These additional conditions include:
Once you’re released on bail, you must attend every scheduled court date. If you miss a court date, your bond can be revoked and you can be held in jail. Likewise, if you violate one of the special DUI bond conditions, or if you are arrested for a new charge while out on bond, your bond can be revoked and you can be held in jail until your case is complete.
So if you, your family, or a friend get pulled over after drinking, even in the middle of the night, call a lawyer as soon as possible to help you with a DUI arrest. Your attorney will know the steps to take to secure your release, be able to communicate effectively on your behalf, and explain what’s expected of you when you’re released on bond.