The Role of Bail and Bond in Texas Criminal Cases
By Sholdon Daniels
If you've been arrested for a criminal offense in Texas, one of the first things you'll likely have to deal with is bail and bond. In Texas, bail and bond serve as a way to ensure that a defendant shows up for their court date and to provide an incentive for the defendant to comply with the terms of their release. Here's a closer look at the role of bail and bond in Texas criminal cases.
Bail is a payment made to the court to secure the release of a defendant from jail while they await their trial. Bail is set by a judge and can be cash, property, or a bail bond (otherwise known as a surety bond). The amount of bail is typically determined by the severity of the crime, the defendant's criminal history, and their flight risk.
If the defendant shows up for their court date, the bail is returned at the end of the trial if a cash bond was posted. If the defendant does not show up, the bail is forfeited to the court, and a warrant is issued for their arrest.
If a defendant cannot afford to pay their bail, they may turn to a bail bond company. A bail bond is a contract between the defendant, the bail bond company, and the court. The defendant pays a non-refundable fee, usually around 10% of the total bail amount, to the bail bond company, and the bail bond company posts the full bail amount to the court. The bail bond company is then responsible for ensuring that the defendant appears in court.
If the defendant does not show up for their court date, the bail bond company has a limited amount of time to find the defendant and bring them to court before the bail bond is forfeited. If the bail bond company is unable to find the defendant, they may hire a bounty hunter to locate and apprehend the defendant.
In addition to bail and bail bonds, Texas also allows for personal bonds, otherwise known as PR bonds. A personal bond is a written promise signed by the defendant to appear in court as required. Personal bonds are usually granted to defendants who are considered low flight risks or who cannot afford to pay bail.
Eligibility for a personal bond depends on the type of offense charged, and how long the defendant has been in jail awaiting formal charges or trial. Defendants charged with certain misdemeanors may be eligible for a personal bond after only a few days in jail, while defendants charged with serious felonies are typically not eligible, or have to wait a few months before they become eligible for a PR bond. Additionally, for misdemeanors and felonies, a defendant may be required to meet certain criteria, such as having a stable residence, employment, and family ties in the community.
The Role of Bail and Bond in Criminal Cases:
Bail and bond play a crucial role in the criminal justice system. They allow defendants to remain free while they await trial and ensure that they appear in court. However, they can also be expensive and can create financial burdens for defendants and their families. Many experts have argued that imposing bail upon indigent defendants is a way of imprisoning people for being poor. This is because wealthy people can afford to post bail and get out of jail to prepare a defense while poor people have to sit in jail, even if they are innocent, until they can drum up bail money or get released on a personal bond.
Bail and bond are essential to the criminal justice system in Texas. They provide a way for defendants to remain free while they await trial and ensure that they appear in court. It's important to work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can help you navigate the bail and bond process and explore all of your options for release. If you're facing criminal charges in Texas, don't hesitate to contact my office at 1-844-SHOLDON for a consultation. I can help you understand your legal options and build a strong defense for your case.