If you’re arrested in Texas, you’ll normally post bail, as it gives you a chance to wait for your criminal case to proceed at home. However, the bail system is confusing and often unfair to defendants. You should always discuss bail with a criminal defense lawyer in San Marcos before you pay anything. If you don’t, you risk paying too much or spending too much time in jail.
Posting bail releases you from police custody and is usually granted to people accused of misdemeanors and less serious felonies, depending on the person’s criminal history.
More specifically, bail is the security given on the accused person’s behalf to ensure that they appear in court. Five basic types of bail are recognized in the Lone Star State: a surety bond (the most common), cash bond, personal recognizance bond, property bond, and attorney bond.
By posting bail, a defendant can still provide for their family and can freely speak to their lawyer without waiting in jail. Below are further definitions of the bonds recognized for posting bail in Texas.
If the defendant can pay the bail, posting a cash bond is the easiest way to get released from jail before a trial date. The bond is posted directly at the jail. It represents a guarantee by the defendant – that they will show up for their court date.
The surety bond is the most popular type of bail bond used in Texas. This type of bond acts as a loan when the defendant can’t afford the total amount for the bail. In this case, a bail bondsman, acting as a third party, posts the bond for the defendant.
To obtain a surety bond, the defendant usually gives the bondsman a percent of the total posted bail – normally 10%. This fee is non-refundable, and the defendant may have to sign an agreement guaranteeing additional collateral, depending on the amount.
If you appear in court, you aren’t subject to additional fees. However, if you fail to show up for your date in court, the requester of the bond is liable for repayment. You also won’t get your bond money back (excluding the down payment), and a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
If a defendant can’t afford to pay cash bail, they may elect to get a property bond. In this case, the defendant or the person securing the bond uses their home’s equity as collateral.
Because this bond involves some time to process, the court usually demands the property’s value be 150% of the original bail amount.
An appraisal of the real estate must be made first to issue the bond.
When a defendant is not considered a threat to society, a personal recognizance bond is issued to guarantee their appearance in court. This means that the defendant may be released from jail without the posting of the PR bond in a court’s registry or by a bond company.
Instead, the defendant acquires the bond and is released if they have community ties that are academic or influential in nature. After being released on a PR bond, the defendant must report to a PR bond office.
Defendants are monitored before their trial and are usually charged a pretrial service fee. Defendants are released from jail without paying a deposit or posting collateral.
In some counties of Texas, you may post an attorney bond. This simply means that your attorney, if you’ve retained legal services, can post the bond on your behalf. They just need to show that they represent you before they go ahead with the process.
Attorney bonds work much the same way as surety bonds. The attorney usually pays a 10% fee for the amount of the bond – as a defendant would give to a bondsman.
However, this bond typically takes more time to process, and the attorney may also charge you extra for their representation. While this bond may be recommended in cases that involve a high amount of confidentiality, you’ll get released from jail sooner if you post cash bail or surety bail bond for your pretrial release.
If you’ve been charged with a crime, you need to contact a criminal defense law firm to get through the legal process successfully. In Texas, contact the Mendoza Law Firm for a legal consultation today.
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