When you are suddenly faced with the need to out bail your loved, you will typically need to secure a bail bond to get him/her out of jail. Many people, however, are unfamiliar with the bail bonds process and find themselves asking for some basic information.
Seven of the most frequently asked questions concerning Texas bail bonds are answered below to help you better understand what a bail bond is and how the process works:
A bail bond is an agreement between a bail bonds agent and a co-signer whereby the latter becomes liable for the full dollar amount of the bond if the bailed-out individual fails to appear for his/her court hearings. Skipping bail will forfeit the bail money to the court, and the bail bonds agent will have the right to recover it from the co-signer.
A “cash bond” refers to paying the full bail amount upfront to the court instead of taking out a bail bond. Most cannot afford to do this, and the existence of bail bonds helps lower-income arrestees get out of jail before their arraignment. The cash is refunded in full at case’s end, regardless of the verdict, but if the defendant misses any court dates, all the cash will likely be lost permanently to the court.
There are several different ways that bail amount can be set. When someone is arrested on a warrant, the amount will usually already be assigned. Typically, however, the bail is set after the arrest at a bail hearing conducted by a magistrate judge. County bail schedules will normally guide the judge in determining the amount, but he will have sole discretion and can even refuse bail if flight risk is high.
A writ bond is a writ of habeas corpus, which according to Texas Criminal Code Section 17.033a, can secure bail automatically when the accused is not taken before a magistrate within 24 hours’ time for misdemeanors and 48 hours’ time for felonies. In such cases, the bail is $5,000 for a misdemeanor and $10,000 for a felony. Only a lawyer with a law license can file habeas corpus on behalf of another person.
The usual fee for a bail bond is 10% of the full bail amount. The bail bonds agency may offer payment plans for those who can’t come up with the fee, but they will also usually require collateral on the bond and on the financing. Those with good credit scores may, however, qualify for a no-interest, nothing-down loan.
The paperwork may take only 30 minutes, but posting the bond must await the arrestee being booked. After the bond is posted, there is also a sometimes lengthy release process. A good bail bonds agent can act fast to minimize the time involved, but it could still take 3 to 6 hours or more if the jail is busy at the time.