The defendant is arrested.
The defendant is taken to the police station and booked.
After booking, the defendant may be offered to option to pay bail based on a schedule of common crimes—for example, $500 for a nonviolent misdemeanor. If the defendant accepts this option and pays bail, the defendant is released.
If the defendant is not offered a chance to pay a scheduled bail payment (or chooses not to pay), the defendant must wait in jail (or a holding cell at the police station) until a court hearing typically, an arraignment.
At the arraignment, the defendant may enter a plea and the judge will set bail (or allow release without bail, known as “OR”). The defendant may pay bail at that time or any time thereafter.
If the arraignment does not occur within 48 hours, the defendant will be given a bail hearing (or in some cases a special hearing to determine if there is probable cause for the charges). The defendant may pay bail at that time or any time thereafter.