Costs and Options for Paying Bail: Exactly What You Need to Get Out of Jail Quick
Those who are arrested and charged with crimes don’t always get a quick trial. In fact, if a person pleads not guilty to their charges, it could take months before their court date arrives. Because of the Texas bail procedure, however, it’s not always necessary for a person to wait for their trial behind bars.
Basic Rules of Bail
Those who are arrested are often granted a certain bail amount. This is an amount that can be paid to the court that works as a form of collateral to ensure that defendants show up for their court dates. Bail isn’t always necessarily money, however, since a property pledge or even a promise to come back for one’s court hearings is sometimes enough to secure one’s release.
After the trial, regardless of its outcome, the defendant is refunded whatever bail amount that he or she paid. If that person fails to show up to court, however, they forfeit whatever they offered up and usually have an arrest warrant put out in their name.
The Cost of Bail
A person’s bail amount is set at a level that’s meant to make it more likely that they’ll show back up for their court date. Bail amounts can vary wildly by jurisdiction, and this means that a person charged with a crime in one state could have an insanely different bail amount than a person charged with the same crime in another state.
A judge will consider many things, including the seriousness of a crime and how likely a person is to flee, when deciding on a bail amount. Though the Constitution protects against excessive bail, this doesn’t mean that bail must be granted. If the judge believes there’s a high likelihood that someone will flee, bail can be denied altogether.
Conversely, a judge may also release someone without any bail amount, known as being released on their own recognizance, if the court believes the person will return without a monetary incentive for doing so.
Bail Bond Agencies
The fact of the matter is, not everyone can afford bail. Even bail amounts for relatively minor crimes can be more than the average person has put away for a rainy day. In these cases, the defendant can usually enlist the services of a bail bondsman.
A bail bondsman basically works as a mediator between the accused and the courts, and this technically forms a binding contract between the three of them. Bail bond agents make a pledge to the court that, in return for releasing the accused, the agent agrees to pay the entire bail amount should the accused not show for court.
In return for their services, the accused must pay the bail bondsman 10 percent of what their bail amount is. However, unlike when a person pays their own bail in full, this fee is non-refundable. Those who agree to sign off on a bail bond for a family member or friend should understand that they’re making themselves liable if their loved one decides to skip out on their court date.