The Texas Criminal Code is long, complicated, and ridden with legal jargon. Chapter 17 of the Code of Criminal Procedure comprehensively outlines a defendant’s rights to bail in the state of Texas. We know it can be difficult to parse out, that’s why we’ve done it for you! Below, we will break down the information for you.
What’s the Difference Between Bail and Bond?
Bail is the amount of money set by the court system that must be paid before the defendant is released. This money is used to guarantee that the accused will appear in court. If they do, the money is returned to them upon completion of the trial regardless of the verdict.
A bail bond is a pledge posted by a bail bond agency, like A-EZ Out to pay the full bail amount should the defendant fail to appear at their court dates.
Rules for Setting Bail
There are a few regulations that dictate how bail is set in Texas. The judge must:
- Set bail high enough to assure the defendant will appear in court
- Never use bail as an instrument of oppression
- Consider the nature of the crime and the circumstances
- Ensure the defendant has the assets to make bail or is utilizing a bond service
- Consider the safety of the alleged victim and the community before granting or setting bail
Grounds for Bail Denial
Bail can be denied for many reasons. Denial is most common in cases of alleged familial or child abuse. A judge will likely deny you bail if the alleged victim or community’s safety is at risk. You may also be denied bail if the judge has reason to believe you’re a flight risk.
The judge may grant a defendant release using a personal bond without any additional sureties or security in some cases. For more serious crimes like burglary or capital murder, it’s left to the court’s discretion. Generally, the judge will offer conditions relating to your arrest that you must adhere to or risk rearrest. For instance, if you’re arrested on a DWI charge the court may order you to abstain from alcohol use. The defendant may still be responsible for fees and court costs with this type of bond.
Release on Bond
Any person who is arrested without a warrant must be offered a bail bond release. The court must offer the defendant bond within 24 hours if they are charged with a misdemeanor, and the amount can’t exceed $5,000 without clear probable cause. You only have to post bail or bond once. However, if you skip your hearing, you’ll be rearrested. Then, the judge may decide whether or not to grant bond again and add additional conditions. You will forfeit the original bail bond and will be responsible for paying the new amount.
There are certain circumstances in which the court may grant you a bail reduction. Typically, you’ll have to request a bail reduction. Then, the judge will provide notice to the state attorney and set a bail hearing with the state attorney and your attorney present.
One common reason bail reductions are granted is due to the length of time someone who hasn’t been convicted spends in jail. A defendant must not be detained for an excessive period of time while awaiting trial. If the state isn’t ready to conduct a timely trial the defendant must be granted a bail reduction or personal bond. The time limits to commence court proceedings are:
- 90 days from initial detention for felony accusations
- 20 days from initial detention for misdemeanor punishable by more than 180 days in jail
- 15 days from initial detention for misdemeanor punishable by 180 days or less in jail
- 5 days from initial detention is they are accused of a misdemeanor only punishable by a fine
Most people you would ask to put up collateral for you legally qualify. However, there are some limits to who can help you get a bail bond. For example, minors can’t be sureties. However, they can be listed as the principal if they are accused of a crime. A guarantor also can’t be paid to do so if they’ve been convicted of an immoral misdemeanor or a felony.
Bail Bond Requirements
Every bail bond certificate must meet certain requirements. They are as follows:
- Payable to “The State of Texas”
- Defendant must promise to appear in court for all of their hearings
- The bond certificate must state the charge (misdemeanor or felony)
- The bond must include the signature and mailing address of the defendant and additional backers
- Must include time and place of the initial court date
- Defendant and guarantors must agree to pay bail in full to the bond company and additional court fees if the accused fails to appear
Bond Out With A-EZ Out
The expert bail bondsmen at A-EZ Out have a thorough understanding of bail laws and procedures in Texas. We stay up to date with industry best practices and laws to ensure we can provide the best service to you. We are a Dallas-based bonds company, but proudly service Dallas, Tarrant, Collin, and Denton counties. A-EZ Out bondsmen are available 24/7 for your convenience. Don’t hesitate to contact us if a loved one finds themselves in lockup.
The information published in this blog post is strictly informational. All information can be found in the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. However, you should seek legal counsel for legal advice.