San Antonio Criminal Defense Attorney: Navigating the Bail Bond Process in Texas
Updated: Jan 30
When an individual is arrested and charged with a crime in Texas, they will usually have the opportunity to be released from custody until their trial date. This is typically done through the process of bail or bond. Understanding how bail and bond works in Texas can be confusing, but it is important for anyone facing criminal charges to have a basic understanding of the process.
Bail and bond are often used interchangeably, but they have slightly different meanings. Bail is the amount of money set by a judge that must be paid in order to secure the release of a defendant from custody. Bond, on the other hand, is a guarantee that the defendant will appear in court as required. The most common way to provide this guarantee is by posting a bond, which is typically done by paying a bondsman a non-refundable fee, typically 10% of the bail amount.
When a judge sets bail, they will consider a variety of factors, such as the defendant's criminal history, the severity of the charges, and the likelihood that the defendant will flee or be a danger to the community. In Texas, there are no set bail schedules, so each case is handled on an individual basis.
If the defendant cannot afford to pay the bail amount, they have the option of hiring a bail bondsman. A bail bondsman is a professional who will post the bond for the defendant in exchange for a fee, usually 10% of the bail amount. The bondsman will also typically require collateral, such as property or jewelry, to ensure that the defendant will appear in court.
It is important to note that if a defendant does not appear in court as required, the bond will be forfeited, and the bondsman will be responsible for paying the full bail amount. Additionally, the defendant and any co-signers on the bond may also be subject to arrest.
There are also alternative forms of bond available in Texas, such as personal bonds, which allow defendants to be released without having to pay bail. Personal bonds are typically reserved for defendants who are considered low-risk and have a strong support system in place.
Cash bond is another option, where the defendant or a co-signer can pay the full bail amount in cash. This option is less common as it requires a large sum of money upfront, but it has the advantage of the money being returned to the defendant or co-signer once the case is concluded and the defendant has appeared in court as required.
Pursuant to Texas Code of Criminal Procedure article 17.151, A defendant who is detained in jail pending trial of an accusation against him must be released either on personal bond or by reducing the amount of bail required, if the state is not ready for the trial of the criminal action for which he is being detained within:
90 days from the commencement of his detention if he is accused of a felony;
30 days from the commencement of his detention if he is accused of a misdemeanor punishable by a sentence of imprisonment in jail for more than 180 days;
15 days from the commencement of his detention if he is accused of a misdemeanor punishable by a sentence of imprisonment for 180 days or less; or
five days from the commencement of his detention if he is accused of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine only.
The bail and bond process in Texas can be confusing and overwhelming, but understanding the basics can be helpful when facing criminal charges. It is important to note that the bail amount will be set by a judge and to consider hiring a bail bondsman if you cannot afford the bail amount, but be aware of the terms and conditions of the bond agreement. Additionally, alternatives forms of bond such as personal bonds, cash bond or the options provided by Texas Code of Criminal Procedure article 17.151 may also be available depending on the circumstances of the case.