Have you or a loved one been arrested?
If you or a loved one have been arrested, there are two urgent concerns that need to be addressed immediately. First is protecting the rights of the arrested and beginning work on their defense. Second, and equally important, is getting them released from jail so they can spend time with their loved ones, continue working at their place of employment, and go on with their life while the case is pending.
An experienced attorney can help you by advising you of your rights and counseling you about how to handle interrogations or other requests for information by the police, the press, or any other interested parties. An attorney can also work to get the arrested person released from jail. And it is critical that an attorney begin investigating the case as soon as possible.
How do I get out of jail?
When a person is arrested, a judge will set a bail amount in the case. Bail is defined under Texas law as, "the security given by the accused that he will appear and answer before the proper court the accusation brought against him, and includes a bail bond or a personal bond." (Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Art. 17.01)
Texas law requires that the bail amount be set with 48 hours of the person's arrest. Bail is not intended to be punishment, but rather to make sure the person accused of a crime shows up in court to answer that accusation. Once bail is set, a person can pay the bail amount and then be released from jail. If the bail is not paid, then the person will remain in jail until their case is resolved.
What is a bail bond?
A bail bond is defined by Texas law as, "a written undertaking entered into by the defendant and the defendant's sureties for the appearance of the principal therein before a court or magistrate to answer a criminal accusation..." (Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Art. 17.02) There are three types of bail bonds: cash bonds, surety bonds, and personal bonds.
A cash bond is a type of bond that requires a person to pay the entire bail amount to the court in order to be released from jail. Unless the bond is forfeited for some reason (such as the defendant not appearing in court when required) the person posting the bond will have their money returned after the case is resolved. (Some counties charge a processing fee which they deduct from the amount refunded.)
A surety bond is a type of bond where the bail amount is guaranteed by a licensed surety (a bail bond company). The bail bond company will charge a fee for posting a surety bond on your behalf. This fee varies, but is typically 10-20% of the bail amount, depending on the bondsman and the circumstances of the case. It is important to note that the bondsman's fee is not returned to you when the case is resolved. Bail bond companies will generally have you sign a contract that may impose several conditions, such as checking in with the company. If you violate the conditions of the contract with the bail bond company, they can ask the court to withdraw their bond. If the court allows them to go off your bond, the court will issue an arrest warrant because you are no longer on bond.
A personal bond (usually referred to as a personal recognizance, or "PR" bond) is another type of bond that does not require you to pay the bail amount to the court in order to be released from jail. With this type of bond you are released on your promise to appear in court when required, and you will only have to pay the bail amount if you violate the terms of the bond (such as failing to appear in court when required).
What are bond conditions?
Bond conditions are requirements placed on a defendant by the judge. These conditions can take two forms. They can either require the defendant to do something, or they can prohibit the defendant from doing something. Some examples of requiring the defendant to do something while on bond are to report monthly to a pretrial supervision officer, take random drug and alcohol tests, or wear a GPS monitor. Some requirements of prohibiting a defendant from doing something while on bond would be stating that the defendant not commit any new offenses while on bond, prohibiting alcohol consumption, or prohibiting contact with a specified person.