Being arrested for a crime can be stressful, scary, and leave you wondering about your options if you are placed into custody while your charges are processed.
You will typically be granted one phone call to get in touch with a criminal defense attorney or a family member or friend who can call a defense lawyer on your behalf to start your defense process; however, there is also the matter of your bail.
That’s where the bail bond system comes into effect, the method designed to get you out of jail while the rest of your case is processed and planned.
What Is A Bail Bond?
Bail money is what you must pay to the court to get out of jail immediately after an arrest in order to continue your normal life, with certain restrictions, while your case is moving through the criminal justice system.
A family member or a defense lawyer who is representing you must arrange for the entire bail amount to be paid so you can be released.
The bail amount is frequently more money than you have available, so your family member or lawyer can arrange for a bond from a bail bond agency.
Essentially, a bail bond is a loan from the bail bondsman so you can pay the bail and be released.
How Does the Bail Bond System Work?
Bail amount is set at a bail bond hearing when a judge listens to the charges against you and determines the amount of your bail.
Always have your criminal defense attorney with you at a bail hearing, as there are a number of factors considered in setting your bail including the severity of the crime you are charged with, whether you are considered a “flight risk,” and other pertinent factors.
Your defense lawyer can speak on your behalf and try to have a lower bail amount set at the hearing.
Once the bail amount is set, your bail bondsman will accept your down payment, usually 10% or 15% of the total bail amount, and pay the rest so you can be released from jail.
What Happens After You Post Bail?
As both your bail bondsman and defense lawyer will stress, posting bail does not mean your legal case is finished or that you have been alleviated of any charges against you.
It simply gives you the freedom to leave jail and live your life normally until you must appear in court.
When you appear in court with your defense lawyer as required, the court returns the bail money at the conclusion of all required court appearances.
If you paid the entire bail amount, that money is returned to you.
If a bail bondsman paid your bail, that money is returned to the bondsman who retains the bail premium you paid to use the services of the bail agent.
If you fail to appear in court when required, the court will keep all of the bail money and you would become indebted to the bail bondsman for the entire amount less the premium deposit you already paid.
Contact A Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’ve been arrested and will face criminal charges, it’s important that you contact a criminal defense attorney right away.
Your defense lawyer can attend the bail hearing as your representative and help you or a family member arrange with a bail bondsman to post bond so you can be released from jail until you are required to appear in court!
Garza & Elizondo, LLP
680 East St. Charles St, Suite 600
Brownsville TX 78520
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2395 La Palma Street, Suite A
San Benito TX 78586