A Guide for Women Arrested in Delaware
From the homeless woman charged with petty theft to celebrity bad girls, Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution (BWCI) becomes a temporary home for women arrested in Delaware. Also known as the BWCI jail for women. If you’re a woman arrested in Delaware, you’re likely to be taken to BWCI for processing and booking. The arrest, booking, and bail bond process goes more smoothly and is less frightening if you understand the process and know what to expect.
Stay Calm During the Arrest Process
The police may arrest you if they have probable cause to believe you have committed a crime. They detain you, read your Miranda warnings (“You have the right to remain silent….etc.”), and transport you to a jail – usually BWCI – for processing and booking.
Even if you think the police are making a mistake when they arrest you, it’s important to be cooperative. Otherwise, the police may charge you with resisting arrest, which makes your situation that much worse.
The police will ask you if you have weapons, needles or anything sharp that may harm them. Answer honestly because next they will search you to make sure you don’t have a weapon. Expect to be handcuffed and transported to a booking facility known commonly as jail. The majority of women arrested in Delaware are taken to BWCI, but you also may be processed at another facility and eventually moved to BWCI. If you’re at a large event like a sporting event or concert, they may have temporary holding facilities and will transport you later to BWCI. Any transfer will add to the time it takes to get released, so be prepared to wait.
The police can question you before or after you’re booked. Most attorneys say it’s best not to volunteer any information except for your name and address, which you must provide. Be careful what you say. The police aren’t kidding when they warn you that “anything you say can and will be used against you.” If you request an attorney, they must stop the interrogation until your attorney arrives.
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Booking Procedures May Take a Long Time
Once at BWCI, women are “booked,” or processed into the system. Nothing about the booking process is speedy, and you won’t be able to arrange for bail until it’s complete. Major parts of the booking process include:
Once the booking procedures are complete, jail personnel take you to a jail cell where you will likely remain until bailed out, released on your own recognizance (for minor offenses) or it’s time to appear before a judge. At some point in the process, you can make a phone call. The earlier you can make your call, the better, because it means your family can go ahead start working with a bail bond agent.
When you make your phone call, be sure to give the person you call the following information:
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Your Experience While in Jail
The arrest and booking process is unnerving enough, but most women are terrified by the thought of being placed in the holding cell with a lot of strangers. It’s impossible to forget all those B movies and news stories about prison violence.
Naturally, there is some danger, but remember approximately 70% of women arrested in Delaware are charged with non-violent crimes: offenses like drug possession, writing bad checks, petty theft, and prostitution. Only about a quarter are charged with violent offenses and most of those are against husbands, boyfriends, and other family members.
Remember that you are incarcerated with people you don’t know. They may be dealing with mental health issues, drug addictions, or other problems that make them emotionally unstable. It’s best to be reserved, but friendly. Don’t volunteer personal information; don’t make statements that denigrate a particular ethnic or religious group; and don’t give others the impression that you think you’re “too good” to be in jail with the rest of them.
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Bail Bond and Release Procedures
The bail amount is set by judges in a County Bail Schedule based on the charges. Bail Schedules generally have differing bail amounts depending on the severity of the crime. For example, a DUI in Delaware has a $5,000 and up bail; a DUI with accident is $50,000 and so on.
Bail can be raised, lowered or removed only by a judge. Waiting to be heard in front of a judge means additional time in jail. If you do wait for a judge, the judge considers the severity of the offense, likelihood that you’re a danger to the community, the amount of jail time if you’re found guilty, your past arrest record, and community ties.
The average bail amount in Delaware is $25,000. Often bail is set higher. Since few people can pay the whole amount, you’ll probably need to contract with a licensed bail bond agent. The bail agent can walk you through the entire bail bond process and handle the release. Professional bail agents know the jail systems and often know the bail schedules. They can begin the bail process to obtain the fastest release possible. The sooner a bail bondsman is contacted, the faster the release can occur.
Bail agents charge 10% of the bail amount as payment for their services. The Delaware Legislature regulates this cost. If a bail agent offers you a “cheap 5% bail bond,” you’re dealing with someone willing to violate Delaware law, and that’s dangerous for you.
After all, if the bail bond agent doesn’t follow that part of the law, how can you be sure he’ll follow the appropriate procedures for obtaining your release and return your collateral when the case is complete?
Getting arrested is never fun: the booking process can be slow and frustrating, and a night in jail can be as scary as it sounds. But, in this case, knowledge really is power. Once you understand what is happening, what your rights and responsibilities are, and how to arrange for release, you’ll be able to handle yourself and stay calm until you’re back home with your loved ones.
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