How Do I Get Out of Jail After An Arrest?


Depending on the county a person is arrested in determines which local policies and practices are put in place by the Chief Judges of that judicial district. However, the process is generally the same. It is important to contact an experienced criminal defense team that is able to navigate and determine the next best steps for you. Immediately, you should pick up the phone and call Jetton and Meredith Law Firm if you have a warrant out for your arrest or one could potentially be taken out. Please call us at 704.333.1114 for a free consultation.

I. Initial Appearance N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-511

Under North Carolina law, when a person is arrested, with or without a warrant, a person must be taken without unnecessary delay before a magistrate or other judicial official for an initial appearance. This applies whether you are arrested for a misdemeanor or a felony. In those situations, a magistrate will set pretrial conditions of release. Typically, in misdemeanor cases, the magistrate will give the person a date to appear in front of a district court judge. However, different districts have different procedures in place. If you are arrested for a felony, the first appearance (which is the proceeding that involves reading the charges against you and determining counsel) must occur within 96 hours of arrest or at the next regular session of district court, whichever is earlier.

A. Pretrial Release

A person charged with noncapital offenses and probation violations have the right to pretrial release conditions and not remain in jail during the court proceedings. See N.C.G.S. §§ 15A-533(b) and 1345(b). However, traffic citations and charges involving wildlife may not be arrested or incarcerated.

B. Types of Pretrial Release N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-534

In North Carolina there are five types of pretrial release (conditions that you must meet in order to be released from jail) that a judge or a magistrate can issue. Only one pretrial release condition out of the five can be chosen by the judge or magistrate. The five types are:

  1. Written Promise to Appear – This is when the Judge does not specify any dollar amount to be released from jail. Essentially, a person is signing a form stating that they will appear at the next court date.
  2. Unsecured Bond – An unsecured bond is the next condition above written promise to appear. This means the judge orders an appearance bond to be issued. An unsecured appearance bond is when a judge issued an amount that is to be paid if a person does not show up at their next court date. If a person does not appear, he or she is bound to pay the specified amount to the State of North Carolina and an Order for Arrest will be issued as well.
  3. Custody Release – This condition requires a relative, friend, shelter, or some other organization to consent to supervise a person being released from jail.
  4. Secured Bond – A secured bond is a dollar amount that is set by the Judge which a person must pay in order to be released from jail. Depending on the severity of the charges determines how high or low the bond will be set. The bond amount can be paid a number of ways with the help of a bail bondsman or not: cash, mortgage on real property that is either owned by you or another person; and titles to other assets you or another person owns.
  5. Pretrial Services – Essentially, this a program that allows a person to be released; however, must be supervised by a county organization. When a person is released on pretrial, they may have to comply with various conditions that are set out by their pretrial services supervisor, such as reporting/checking in with caseworker and substance abuse treatment. However, some charges in Mecklenburg County are not eligible for pretrial services.
  6. Electronic House Arrest (Electronic Monitoring) – If the Judge finds that a written promise to appear, unsecured bond, or custody release would not reasonably assure the appearance of the person, will pose a danger of injury to any person in the community, or is likely to destroy evidence or intimidate witnesses against him or her, the judge can impose electronic monitoring along with a secured bond. These reasons must be document by the judge in making their determination.

Determining which condition the judge will set for pretrial depends on the nature and circumstances of the offense, weight of evidence against the person, family ties to the community, current employment, prior criminal history, and many more factors an experienced attorney can argue. When advocating for pretrial release against the District Attorney’s office in front of the judge, it is important to have a skilled attorney by your side encouraging for your release.The experienced criminal team at Jetton and Meredith can help you through this complex and stressful situation. Give us a call – 704.333.1114.