Houston Criminal Law Blog


How Bail Bonds Work?

How Bail Bonds Work in Texas

Although many Texans have heard the phrase “to get bailed out of jail“, they may not know exactly what these words mean. After all, most people don’t have to worry about the bail bond process until they find themselves being booked into a county jail. Fortunately, the bail bond process isn’t difficult to understand. However, it’s important to follow the steps of the process correctly to avoid any additional problems.

Essentially, bail bonds are a way for a person who has been arrested to make an agreement with the court. This agreement consists of a payment and an agreement to appear in court at a later date in exchange for release from jail. However, there are additional steps to follow after being released from jail.

Step #1: Setting Bail

After a person is booked into jail, the amount of their bail will be determined. “Bail” is the term used to refer to the amount of money determined by the court that a person must pay in order to be released from the jail. The amount of the bail will vary based on the facts of the case and the charges against the person.

For many misdemeanor crimes, the bail will be based on established amounts. For some other crimes, the judge will set bail at an amount determined to be sufficient. The U.S. Constitution states that it is illegal to set bail excessively high to force a person to remain in jail. If a person cannot afford bail, they may either have to stay in jail or request a special hearing to ask for the bail to be lowered.

In some cases, a person might have to appear before a judge to find out their bail amount. For most misdemeanor offenses, though, the defendant can find out their bail amount when they are booked into the jail.

Step #2: Paying or Posting the Bail

Once the bail amount has been determined, the amount must be paid before a defendant can be released. In most cases, the defendant is not allowed to simply hand the jail some cash and then leave. The court wants to make sure that defendants will return to appear before the court.

This is where bail bonds come in. While some people may be able to pay the full amount of the bail right away, most people will not have that kind of money readily available. In this case, they can purchase a bail bond from a bondsman. A bondsman will offer a bail bond for a reduced price (usually about 10% of the total bail) and that bond can be used to release the person from jail. However, the story doesn’t end there. The person who has been bonded from jail must abide by the bail conditions.

Step #3: Following the Bond and Release Conditions

Once a person has been released from jail, they will likely be ordered to abide by certain conditions. These can include:

  • Conditions of release from the court
  • Conditions of bond from the bondsman

The person is expected to follow all of these conditions in exchange for being released from jail. Failing to follow these orders or violating the conditions can be grounds for re-arrest and additional charges. Some typical conditions of bond and release can include:

  • Agreeing to appear in court on a certain date at a certain time
  • Agreeing to not break any laws
  • Meeting with the bail bondsman at a certain time
  • Calling the bail bondsman regularly to check in
  • Avoiding certain behaviors related to a crime (abstaining from alcohol or drugs, avoiding contact with a domestic violence victim)

Once a person has been released from jail, they should make sure to take care of their immediate obligations of release right away. Then, it’s a good idea to look for a defense attorney. An attorney may be able to help a defendant handle all of their conditions of release and avoid violations. A lawyer may even be able to take care of some of the initial court appearances so that the defendant doesn’t have to appear in court.

After all, the best way to fight charges in court is to avoid any additional charges before the court appearance.

If you have been charged with a crime, get the best defense you can immediately. Call or visit the Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp today — 713-868-6100.

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