Texas Jail Release Law

After being booked in jail, the arresting officer has to file what is called a Probable Cause Affidavit. A Probable Cause Affidavit is a written document that tells the officer’s shortened version of the accusations with which the defendant is being charged. A judge will then read this report as well as the criminal history of the defendant. After reading both, the judge will then set a bail amount for the defendant. The severity of the accusations and the defendant’s past arrest and conviction history will help to determine the amount of the bail.

In Travis County, bail for misdemeanors can be set as low as only $500 for an offense like hot checks. On the other side, bail can also be set around $10,000 for offenses like assault. Bail usually varies based on the offense. First time DWI’s, assuming that the defendant has a clean prior arrest history, can range between $1500 and $3000. There is no set amount and the amount can often vary based on the first judge that evaluates the case. We understand how difficult it is for you to spend time in jail and will work to get you out as soon as possible.

If someone is arrested for a DWI, the only way for them to be released from jail that same evening is to have a Hobby Release. Assuming that the person meets certain conditions, the sheriff will release the defendant into the care and custody of an attorney. The person must promise to come back to the court the next morning by noon to take care of all the required paperwork.

Answers to some of the most common jail release questions:

What is bail?

Bail is a piece of property or sum of money pledged to a court of law as a guarantee that a defendant will appear for trial. Bail is paid by defendants accused of certain crimes to secure their release from jail until his or her trial date. If a defendant fails to show up for his or her trial, the bond payment is forfeit.

Is bail available to all defendants?

No. While laws may vary slightly from state to state, not all defendants are eligible to be granted bail. Defendants accused of capital crimes, for example, are ineligible for bail. The US federal government, as well as some states, have guidelines which may deny bail to defendants accused of certain non-capital crimes, or those who are a “flight risk,” i.e., likely to run out on their trial if granted bail.

What happens if a defendant fails to appear in court?

Several things may occur. First, if the defendant paid bail to be released from jail, the bond payment will be forfeited to the court. Second, the defendant will be found guilty of failure to appear, and be arrested on authority of a bench warrant, fined, or charged with a misdemeanor.