How Do Bail Bonds Work?

If you are not exactly sure how bail bonds work, you are not alone. Most people have a general idea of what bail bonds are all about yet do not know exactly what the process entails. Let’s demystify bail bonds once and for all by shining some light on the truth.

The Basics of Bail Bonds

When an individual is arrested, he or she must appear in front of a judge or a magistrate. The defendant can request bail, or the judge will set it. Bail is the amount of money that must be paid to release the defendant. Bail bonds in Texas are cash or the equivalent of cash paid to the court. This money is required to ensure the defendant will return to court on his or her court date. 

The amount of bail is subsequently refunded after the defendant appears in court at the scheduled time. Problems arise when the defendant fails to appear in court. If the defendant does not show up to court on the day and time established by the judge, the court will retain the bail amount. To make matters worse, the court will also issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest.

Paying Bail

Bail is paid in cash or in a different form. As an example, Just Bail Bonds commonly bails out those accused of a crime through a bond or by writing a check for the bail amount. If the defendant does not have the money necessary to pay bail, property can be used as collateral. However, this property must actually be worth the amount of bail. Though there is a chance the judge will issue a waiver of bond that releases the charged individual on his or her own recognizance, the chances of such an outcome are unlikely.

The amount of bail to be paid is ultimately determined by the judge. If the judge feels as though the defendant is a threat to the community or might drive or fly out of town to avoid returning to court, the bail will be set especially high. Furthermore, if the nature of the supposed crime was particularly violent, the bail will be set that much higher. Though the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution bars egregiously high bail, the amount of bail can be set as high as necessary to prevent the defendant from fleeing.

Bail Bonds

Bail is paid in full by the defendant, or a bail bond is purchased. Most defendants opt to buy a bail bond as they do not have the large amount of money necessary to cover the full cost of bail. A bail bond in the state of Texas is essentially a promise that the defendant will return to court when expected. The seller of the bond, referred to as the bail bondsman, posts the bond on behalf of the defendant with the court. The court holds onto the bond just in case the defendant does not return to court as scheduled. The bail bond is sold with an additional 10% or so tacked on to the total bail amount so the bail service can stay in business. 

Are Bail Bonds Absolutely Necessary?

In most instances, the answer to this question is “Yes.” However, there are some situations in which the judge releases the defendant based on his or her recognizance rather than requiring that bail be posted. If the defendant is released, he or she is required to sign a promise to return to court. The court determines whether the defendant will be released, typically providing more leeway to defendants accused of nonviolent crimes and those who are unlikely to flee. Additional factors that are considered when determining if a bail bond or release on one’s own recognizance will be granted include the defendant’s ties to the local community, the defendant’s criminal history (or lack thereof), the defendant’s employment status in the community, and previous cases where the defendant did or did not appear in court.

Contact Just Bail Bonds

Just Bail Bonds is here during this difficult period of your life or that of your loved one. Contact us today to learn more about how we can bail you, your loved one, or your friend out of jail. If you are in or near Tarrant County, you can contact us at (817) 303-3400. If you are in or near Dallas County, you can reach us at (214) 495-1363.