In the news, you often read about those arrested for alleged crimes leaving police custody after "posting bail" or "posting a bond." What exactly does that mean? How do they get the money? What is the deal with bail and bonds in the state of Texas?
If arrested, bail or bond is money paid in order to secure your release from jail until the completion of your criminal proceedings. This is money obtained after your booking, so some jail time is likely to occur initially. In some cases, a judge may not allow bail or bond at all -- it depends on the crime and a number of other factors.
After police take you into custody, you will be booked into jail or some other holding facility/detention center. During the booking process, several things happen. These include the following:
- Recording details of the alleged crime
- Making an official record of your personal information
- Criminal background check
- Search and confiscation of property
- Placement in a cell
How long police will keep you in custody depends on the decision made by a judge at an arraignment hearing. It is possible to secure your release on your own recognizance, which means that you promise to attend court hearings in exchange for your not remaining in jail. If this type of release is not an option for you, bail or bond may be set.
Bail and bonds
If a judge allows bail, you will either have to pay the whole thing up front or a percentage of the amount due. If you, your family or someone else you know can post the specified amount, release will occur as soon as payment posts. If you cannot make payment, you can turn to a bail bond agent who will post the amount owed for a fee. You may also choose to refuse release if you do not wish to post the money.
As previously stated, there are no guarantees that bail will be set in your case. A judge will look at a number of factors before determining if bail is appropriate. These include:
- Criminal history
- Details of the alleged crime
- Financial resources
- Flight risk
There are other factors specific to your case, but you get the gist. If a judge thinks you will flee or are a danger to the community bail may not be an option in your case.
Seek help from minute one
The booking process is usually pretty quick and an arraignment hearing tends to happen soon after it is completed. As this is a process that may be rushed through, you may feel that you have to go through it alone but this is not true. With legal assistance, you can fight for release or a fair bail amount.