How Bail Works in Texas
People arrested for crimes are often required to stay in jail while awaiting trial. In most cases, the only way to get out of jail before the trial date is to post bail. If you are arrested and taken into custody, you may not have to spend hours or days behind bars if you understand how bail works in Texas. The first step you should take is not to talk to anyone. Instead, speak with a criminal defense attorney.
An attorney can help you understand how the state’s bail system works, who qualifies for bail, and what types of bail are available to Texans. If you or your loved one has been arrested and needs help navigating the bail process, contact our criminal defense attorneys at Madson Castello Law: Kendall Castello and Messina Madson.
Our attorneys handle each case compassionately and help clients make informed decisions by providing straightforward answers without sugar-coating. If you or someone you love is placed under arrest, we will work relentlessly at every angle for you, and our goal is to obtain the best possible result. From our office in Dallas, Texas, we represent clients in McKinney, Fort Worth, Denton, and other parts of North Texas.
What Is Bail?
Bail is the amount of money a defendant facing criminal charges is required to pay to be released from custody after an arrest. Bail is posted while awaiting trial and serves as a guarantee that the defendant will show up in court at a later date. If the defendant does not post bail, they will likely remain in custody until the trial date.
In Texas, you can post bail in one of three ways:
Cash bail. The defendant pays the full amount in cash or provides a check for the full amount.
Bail bond. When the defendant cannot pay bail, they can use the services of a bail bondsman who posts bail on their behalf for a fee.
Property bond. Alternatively, the defendant can allow the court to put a lien on their property in exchange for a pre-trial release from jail.
According to the Center for American Progress, 61% of people who get arrested in connection with a felony are given the opportunity to post the cash bail to obtain a pre-trial release from custody.
Who Qualifies for Bail in Texas?
Not all people who get arrested and face criminal charges qualify for pre-trial release from custody through posting bail. Prior to giving you the opportunity to post bail, the judge will consider a number of factors, including but not limited to:
Whether you are considered a flight risk
The seriousness of the offense
Whether you pose a threat to the community if released from custody
The prosecution’s case against you
Your criminal history
Your employment history
Your history of drug or alcohol abuse
Your compliance with bail or probation conditions in the past
Your financial resources
Your mental and physical condition
When facing criminal charges or awaiting trial, do not say anything to law enforcement without first speaking to an attorney. Your criminal defense attorney will help you understand your options for a pre-trial release from custody, fight to prove your innocence or negotiate a favorable plea bargain, and help you pursue the best possible outcome in your case.
How Is the Amount of Bail Determined?
Many people do not understand how courts determine the amount of bail. The amount of bail depends on multiple factors, including the charges against the defendant, the severity of the offense, the defendant’s prior criminal convictions, and others. If you believe the amount of bail is not fair, speak with your criminal defense attorney to discuss possible bail reductions in your case.
What Are Bail Bonds?
When a defendant cannot afford bail on their own but want to be released from custody, they can hire a bail bondsman to pay the bail amount for them for a fee. Bail bonds are common in cases involving severe offenses where bail amounts tend to be higher.
If you hire a bail bondsman to post bail on your behalf, you will have to pay the bondsman a bail premium, which is usually anywhere from 10% to 20% of the bail amount. If the defendant attends court on all dates they were required to attend, the bondsman gets the full amount back. However, the premium is not returned to the defendant even if they attend all the court hearings.
If the defendant skips a court date, the bail bondsman will lose the money they posted on behalf of the defendant. The defendant will then be obliged to reimburse the bondsman for their losses. Failure to reimburse can result in legal action against the defendant.
The Bail Process in Texas
Technically, the bail process can begin as soon as the defendant is taken into custody. The defendant can post a cash bail on their own (if such an option is available) or contact a bail bondsman who would be willing to post bail for them. Keep in mind that not every defendant may qualify for bail because the judge considers a number of factors before deciding whether or not to release the defendant from custody.
Experienced Guidance When You Can Depend On
With over 30 years of combined experience in criminal law, our attorneys at Madson Castello Law know the ins and outs of the bail process in Texas. We are former prosecutors who turned into reputable defense attorneys and received statewide recognition. Our favorable relationships and open channels of communication with local law enforcement help us in the cases we handle.
Our results-driven and experienced criminal defense attorneys strive diligently toward securing your freedom and achieving the most favorable outcome in your case. We don’t just fight for you — we also care. We go beyond litigation by also providing service to help you address the reasons for your arrest or accusations, and we strive to help you gain a brighter future, not just a better present. Contact our office in Dallas, Texas, to get the personalized attention you deserve and discuss your best course of action.