If a friend or family member has been arrested, your first and primary concern is getting them out as quickly as possible. Having a firm understanding of how bail bonds work in Texas can help you to secure their release by providing you with the facts of how to properly interact with the system.
So what is bail in general, and how bail bonds work in Texas, specifically?
Bail is a process by which a defendant being held for trial is released in exchange for an amount of money, to be held as a guarantee of their appearance at all court hearings pertaining to the charges for which they were arrested. The amount of bail money is supposed to be great enough to induce the person to show up in order to recover the bail money.
The whole process begins at arrest, when a person is taken into a custody and booked. For most crimes, they may be allowed to post bail immediately, while for more serious offenses they will need to wait for a judge to give them a bail hearing to determine their eligibility. The amount of bail varies by jurisdiction and by crime, but the judge usually has some discretion as well. Bail bonds in Texas usually have fairly standard amounts for common crimes.
Once a person is eligible for bail, they can receive one of five different types. Some are more frequently used than others. They are:
• Cash – An individual pays the full amount of the bail in cash (or sometimes by credit card, depending on jurisdiction). As most people do not tend to have large lump sums of money readily available, this is not a typical scenario for bail bonds in Texas.
• Surety – What is often thought of as a typical bail bond offered by a bail bondsman. For bail bonds in Texas, you typically pay 10% of the amount as a premium and may have to offer up collateral as well.
• Citing Out – For petty or minor crimes, sometimes the police will simple write the offender a citation stating that they must appear in court.
• Personal Recognizance – Again often used for petty or minor crimes, the court and judge are relying on an offender to keep their word and show up for court without having to post a cash bond.
• Property – A court can place a lien on a property in the amount of a person’s bail.
Once the bail agreement is fulfilled, a person is released until their court date, at which point they are expected to show up for all court proceedings. Doing so entitles them to recover any cash or property put up for bond, minus any premiums or fees they agreed to pay.
Hopefully this has given you a basic understanding of how bail bonds work in Texas, should you ever need to use this knowledge.
Don’t Violate Bail Bond Conditions
When an accused has been bonded from jail whether it be by surety bail bond, personal recognizance bail bond, property bail bond or any other type of bail he or she should pay close attention to the wording for Bail Bond Conditions.
An Appearance Bond is a contact between the parties and the Court. It will have a list of possible restrictions and/or conditions that the court has required of the accused before being allowed to be released on bail. Those checked by court or jail personnel will be in effect.
Possible Court Imposed Bail Bond Conditions:
- No Weapons
- No Alcohol
- No Drugs
- No Driving Without A Valid Driver’s License
- Random UA’s
- Random BA’s
- Daily BA’s
- GPS Monitoring
- Substance Abuse Monitoring
- Electronic Substance Abuse Monitoring
- Electronic Home Monitoring
So what happens if these conditions are violated? The court may revoke the bail bond and cause you to have to post a new higher bail bond in order to be released. There may be other more severe penalties or you may have committed a new crime. It would be well advised to seek the advise of an attorney for a more complete explanation.
*The accused should also be aware that the bail bondsman, should there be one, may have added additional conditions to his/her contract. This is perfectly legal and very binding. Same as above, violate them and go back to jail