To better understand how bail bonds work in Texas, it’s important to know that upon arrest anywhere in the state of Texas, a person is usually processed at the local county jail, and you cannot contact a bail bondsman until your mugshot and fingerprints have been taken. Your information is then entered into the system and a bail amount is set for your release.
The wait to be released is longer in county jails, as opposed to local police stations, because there are many more defendants involved. Magistrates are required to be available for initial hearings at least once every day during the year, including holidays. It’s possible on a weekend or holiday to be arrested after that on hearing and have to wait overnight to post bail.
There are four ways in which a person may be released from custody.
- You can use a bondsman.
- You can post cash for the full amount of the bond with the court or jail.
- You can use real property (such as a home or a lot) with the court.
- And lastly the judge can decide to let the defendant go on their own recognizance.
Often people can't afford to pay cash for a bond. A bail bond is where a 3rd party guarantor assures the county that if the person forfeits -- that this person will pay the county it's money. Guarantors can be certain lawyers authorized by the county to do so or can be bail bond companies.
Under Texas law, an automatic bond of $5,000 should be set on any misdemeanor offense where the accused has not been taken to a magistrate within 24-hours after the arrest under Tex.Code.Crim.P. 17.033(a) and $10,000 bond for felonies after 48-hours.
When the bail bond amount is decided, you or someone else can contact a Texas bail bondsman to post the bond at the local jail. At this time the jail release procedure begins and typically can take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours to be completed. While cash bonds are allowed, it is normally not commonly done due to the high expense.
Each bonding office will have their own standards but for the most part you can expect them to accept various forms of bail collateral. Some examples of collateral include:
Property bond - This option is not seen often, but offers a way for defendants with high bail amounts to post bond. The property must be located in the state and there must be paperwork to establish the ownership of the property, the assessed value and whether there are any liens on the property. The court will get title to the property and can begin foreclosure proceedings in the event the defendant does not show up for all court hearings.
The information contained above is for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice you should visit an attorney.
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