Texas Bail Bonds
How does bail work in Texas?
Bail is the legal term used to describe getting someone out of jail. Bond is the legal term for a promise to the Court that you will show up for all court dates after you are released from jail. Despite what some might think, bail is not meant to be punishment or excessively high. It’s in The Texas Constitution and U.S. Constitution. It’s a big deal.
I wrote about the jail to bail process in a previous blog post called My son is in jail, what next? Getting out of jail is the first thing on your mind. Making sure you’ll show up at all your future Court dates until your case is over is the first thing on the Judge’s mind. If you keep those two things in mind, the rest of this post will be crystal clear.
Types of Texas Bail Bonds
There are three types of bonds in Texas. These three types are:
- Personal Recognizance Bond (PR Bond);
- Cash Bond; and
- Surety Bond.
After you’re arrested, the type of bond requested by the Court depends on a laundry list of factors. Usually the Judge doesn’t have time to consider every detail of your life when considering which type of bond to request. This is where hiring a lawyer can help convince a Judge to change their mind.
Depending on the crime you are accused of, your past criminal history, danger to the community, ties to the community (where you work, go to church, go to school) etc… will impact your likelihood of getting a better bond proposed. As always, if you don’t show up for Court, a Judge can and will issue a Warrant for Arrest.
1. Personal Recognizance Bond (PR Bond)
A Personal Recognizance Bond is the cheapest and simplest form of Bond. (Example to the left). A PR Bond is basically your promise to appear in Court after you are released from jail. Normally, if a PR Bond is approved by the Judge, you will have a pay a small fee – under $100 – to be released from jail. However, YOU MUST GO TO ALL FUTURE COURT DATES. Your promise to appear doesn’t wear off.
2. Cash Bond
A cash bond is exactly what it sounds like – a payment of cash to the Court. Typically when the Judge sets the bail, a dollar amount will be given for your release. For example, if you’re charged with Assault, and your bond is set at $5,000, you may pay $5,000 to the Court to be released. If you look above, the factors in setting the bail amount are based on many things.
People who are charged with crimes who have no priors and have, what I call, plain vanilla cases, will generally receive lower bail amounts. However, most people don’t just have $5,000 sitting under their couch cushions or burning away holes in their pockets. For that reason, many people hire a Bail Bondsman to get a Surety Bond.
3. Surety Bond
Surety bonds are probably the most familiar type of bail bond. The reason so many people are familiar with the idea of a bail bondsman is because financing bail on your own can be very expensive. Using the example above, if bail is set at $5,000 and you don’t have the full amount to pay up front, then you’d hire a Bail Bondsman. The Bail Bondsman will consider similar factors to the Court when deciding whether or not to issue a bond on your behalf to the Court. A big problem some clients have is if they have lengthy criminal records, failure to appear charges, or bail jumping charges.
Basically, the Bail Bondsman issues a Surety Bond on your behalf. The Bail Bondsman steps in your shoes and promises the Court that you will either appear in Court, or the Bail Bondsman will pay the $5,000 as in the example we’re using. IF YOU HIRE A BAIL BONDSMAN MAKE SURE TO FOLLOW THEIR RULES AND CHECK IN REGULARLY. If you don’t they can withdraw their bond and you will be put back in jail.
Locally, most Bail Bondsman charge a percentage fee of the total amount of bail set if you’ve hired an attorney to represent you. Using the same example, if your bail is set at $5,000, then the Bail Bondsman may charge you a non-refundable finance fee of $500. Keep these things in mind when thinking about bail. Talk to a lawyer to see if you can get your bail reduced.
There are three types of Texas Bail Bonds. Personal Recognizance Bond (PR Bond), Cash Bond, and Surety Bond. Getting out of jail as soon as possible is important to protect your rights and for your peace of mind. Judges don’t have the time to consider every detail of your life when setting your bail. Having a lawyer by your side can save you time and money during a bail hearing. You can explore your options in the beginning to remove some of the fear and rest a little bit easier. Bail is generally the first step on your road to getting your criminal charge put behind you.