If you were arrested for a Texas DWI, the first question on your mind is probably “When can I get out of jail?” While each case is different, but the quickest way to leave jail before trial is usually through a bail bond.
But what is a bail bond, and how do bail bonds work to get out of jail? At Hoeller & McLaughlin PLLC, we can help answer your questions and work to defend your case. Contact us today to speak to an experienced Fort Worth TX criminal defense attorney.
What Is a Bail Bond?
Bail bonds allow you to get out of jail before a trial. This does not mean you are off the hook for your crime or are having the charges dropped.
By posting a bail bond, you are making a promise to the court that you will return to any trials and hearings. If you follow all the stipulations and show up to court, the money for the mail will be given back. The court keeps the bail if you do not show up.
As a result, a bail bond means you must pay close attention to your schedule for court dates and hearings.
What Determines the Bail Amount?
After being arrested, you will appear before a judge within 48 hours. They will decide on the eligibility for bail and determine an amount.
Texas and U.S. law stipulates bail is not supposed to be “excessive”. The U.S. Constitution indicates bail should not be a larger amount than to make sure a defendant would show up for a court date.
If bail amounts are too high, then defendants with certain income levels would always be stuck in jail.
Amounts that are too low could cause defendants to become fugitives since the bail money would not be enough motivation for them to show up to trials and hearings.
Despite the laws in place, some judges try to “punish” a defendant with a high bail amount. A good lawyer will be able to advocate and help you defend against this practice in a bail hearing.
3 Types of Bail Bonds
Judges have the ability to place conditions on any bail. This could include mandatory drug testing or placement under house arrest. There are actually three primary types of bonds:
1. Personal Recognizance Bond
This bail bond means you are released without having to pay. In turn, a defendant must promise they will make an appearance at all court dates.
Even though there is no official bail bond, counties will charge a personal bond fee. This figure is $20 or 3% of what the typical bail bond would be (whatever number is larger).
The court takes on a great deal of risk with a personal recognizance bond. Charges like higher-level felonies will never be eligible for this type of bond. Eligibility is only determined after an interview with Pretrial Services. They will determine your risk of not showing up to a court or trial date. A judge will make a decision on if the bond comes into effect.
2. Cash Bond
Defendants with this type of bond must pay the amount in cash. A refund is issued once the case is closed, even if the defendant is guilty. However, many people are not able to pay off an entire bond in cash or have enough savings to wait until the refund is issued.
3. Surety Bond
This bond type is the most common choice for defendants. An outside party, like a bondsman or attorney, will charge a fee that is non-refundable. The money will be used to pay for the bail bond. The bondholder has a vested interest in making sure the defendant shows up to court dates since they will have to pay the court if the defendant does not.
As a result, the bondsman will sometimes ask for additional collateral from a defendant or even send out a bounty hunter if necessary.
Learn More About Bail Bonds
To learn more about bail bonds and how they work, speak to a Fort Worth TX criminal defense lawyer at Hoeller & McLaughlin PLLC. We can work alongside you on a criminal or DWI case. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.