Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn

You’ve likely heard of bail and have a vague notion of what bail is. If you are ever held in custody as an accused person waiting for their court appearance, however, bail will likely become a very important subject of which you will want to know much more. Here, we’ll discuss bail basics and what you should know about it.

What is Bail?

Bail is security in the form of money that an accused person gives, or is given on the accused’s behalf, as a promise that the accused will appear as directed at the designated court proceeding. In other words, bail is money that will allow an accused person to be released from custody while they await trial. If a court requires a set bail amount and the accused can produce that amount, then the accused can just pay and get out on bail. Sometimes, the court will accept collateral as bail. Collateral may be any number of assets including real property, vehicles, and other valuable property.

If the accused does not have that amount of money or cannot access that amount of money at the time bail is set, then the accused may be able to request a bail bond. A bail bond is a legally binding agreement between the accused and a bonds company where the bonds company promises to post bail and the accused promises to appear for court.

Every court in Texas has a bond schedule that provides guidance to judges on setting bail which will vary depending on the type of crime. Judges and magistrates, however, have discretion in adjusting the bail amount and can consider a number of factors in doing so. Some of the common factors courts will use to set the bail amount include:

  • How severe was the crime?
  • Was the defendant out on bail when they were arrested?
  • Is the defendant on probation for another criminal conviction?
  • Does the defendant pose a risk to society?
  • Does the defendant have prior criminal convictions?
  • Is the defendant a flight risk?

Once bail is set and paid, the defendant will need to return to court for trial. If the defendant makes good on their promise and appears in court, then they will get the bail money back. Failure to appear means that the defendant will not get their money back and there will likely be other serious consequences as well. If the defendant took a bail bond, the premium fee they paid, likely 10%, is nonrefundable. If the defendant appears at trial as promised, the bonds company will get their money back. Should the defendant fail to appear, the bonds company loses the money they posted and the defendant can be held liable for that loss.

Criminal Defense Attorneys

To avoid having to stay incarcerated while waiting for your trial, get the team at Navarrete & Schwartz by your side to negotiate on your behalf at your bail hearing. We are proud to serve the residents of Midland, Texas. Contact us today.