When a person is charged with a crime in Texas, the court schedules the trial date and the judge sets the bail amount. The defendant can either choose to stay in custody until the day of trial or pay bail.
Once the bail is paid (or “posted”) the defendant can leave custody and await their trial while free. But, if the bail isn’t posted, the defendant will most likely be held in custody until trial.
It’s important to know that bail isn’t always an option. Defendants are sometimes held without bail. Courts can also release some defendants on personal recognizance. “PR release” allows defendants to await their trial at home without posting any bail at all.
How Bail Amounts Are Set
In Texas, every court has a bond schedule that guides the judges on how to set bail, but judges and magistrates are free to adjust the amount depending on the case. The amount of bail depends on things like the charges being brought against the defendant and the court hearing the case.
Other factors can influence the amount too. Under relatively recent changes to Texas bail laws, judges are required to look at a person’s criminal history before setting bail.
Bail Bonds: How to Get Money for Bail
When it comes to bail, the defendant can either get a cash bail or bond bail. If the defendant has the cash, they simply pay the total amount to the court and get a release with a pending trial. They get this money back after they appear at trial. However, if they fail to appear, the court keeps the money.
If defendants can’t raise the cash, they then apply for something called a “bail bond.” The bail bond agent arranges how the defendant will get a bond bail from the bonds company. The defendant then signs an agreement with the bail bonds company in order to post the bail.
Bail bonds do cost money. In Texas, defendants usually pay about 10% of the total bail amount to the bail bonds company. The bonds company then pays the defendant’s bail. Accordingly, the company becomes responsible and assures the court that the defendant will appear at trial.
Get a Free Consultation With a Texas Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or someone you care about has been charged with a crime in Texas, get legal help as soon as possible. The attorneys of Lee & Wood have decades of experience defending people against a full range of criminal charges in Fort Worth, Weatherford, Granbury and all surrounding areas.