As a Former Prosecutor who now represents good people facing criminal charges, we often get questions about bail and bail bonds when someone's friend or family member was just arrested. When arrested in Austin, Texas you generally have a right to bail and for that bail amount to not be excessive according to the Texas Constitution - Article 1.
What is a Bail Bond in Texas?
A bail bond in Austin or anywhere else in Texas is just a written agreement to appear and answer to a criminal allegation by the defendant or person accused. It is a type of security for a debt. This is simply how you get released from custody after being arrested on a charge. To secure your appearance at court a judge may impose, as a condition on your bond, any reasonable condition relating to the safety of the community or alleged victim.
There are Three Main Types of Bail Bonds in Texas:
A Cash Bond is where the defendant deposits money with the county to be held as a promise to appear at court. If the bail amount is $10,000, $10,000 would be posted as a Cash Bond for a person to make bail and be released from custody. The money posted as a cash bond will be returned when the case is over, less 5% fee the county charges.
A Surety Bond is where you hire a bondsman or a company in the business that charges you a fee, and then they sign and agree to act as a surety and assume responsibility for the bail amount and as a collateral to guarantee that you will show up for your court date.
Personal Recognizance Bond – PR Bond is just a promise to appear. Without depositing any money or hiring a surety to pay the bail amount if you fail to appear, you simply sign an agreement and promise to appear. If a person is released on a PR Bond and they fail to appear they must pay the Bail amount. However, there is no money held as security or collateral with a PR Bond. PR Bonds are typically reserved for people that have strong ties to the community, such as living and working in the community for a long period of time, and no real concern that they will not show up for court.
When Is Bail Set?
After being arrested and processed a person will see a magistrate “without delay and no later than 48 hours. The magistrate will decide the bail amount and include any conditions they feel are appropriate.
How are Bail Amounts Set? The law provides some guidance:
- Bail must be set sufficiently high to give reasonable assurance that the promise to appear will be complied with
- The amount of bail must not be used as an instrument of oppression
- The nature of the offense and the alleged circumstances around such are considered
- A person's ability to make bail or afford the bail amount is to be considered in setting the amount.
- The safety of the community and/or victim is to be considered.
Since you are on our website, it is likely that either you or a close friend may be in a bad situation. Know that we can help. If you have a warrant for your arrest, or if a close personal friend or family member was just arrested it is important to call our office today 512-454-7548 and we can talk about bail and other important decisions.