Unless you find yourself on the wrong side of the law or are helping a loved one out of their legal pickle, you’re not likely to come into contact with bail bonds in Angleton, TX, but that shouldn’t stop you from learning about them! That way, if you ever do have to secure a bond or bail someone out, you know exactly what you’re in for.
Here’s a quick guide to everything you need to know about bail bonds, so you understand the process and how everything shakes out.
What is Bail?
Bail is an agreement between the court and the person who stands accused of a crime. The agreement is simple: The defendant agrees to put up a sum of money (bail) in order to remain free until the date of their hearing. It’s important to understand that this is just collateral, not a payment. If the defendant shows up for their court date, their bail money is returned—even if they’re eventually convicted of a crime. However, if they skip town or miss their hearing, they forfeit the entirety of their bail money.
Bail is an opportunity for both the court and the defendant. It allows a person to get out of jail and begin planning their defense strategy, while also giving the court a level of confidence that the defendant will return to face their hearing.
How and When is Bail Set?
Bail hearings are usually set 48 hours or so after an arrest. Most bail is based on a bail schedule, which is a table of predetermined limits based on crimes. The amount is also subject to adjustment by the judge based on the nature of the crime, the criminal history of the person and whether or not they’re considered to be a flight risk.
For example, if this is your first offense, it’s a relatively minor one and you’re gainfully employed, your bail is much likely to be lower than it would be for the same crime by a repeat offender who may be a flight risk.
What’s a Bond?
Most people don’t have large sums of money sitting around for bail. This is where bonds come in!
Let’s say your friend’s bail is $20,000. You can’t pay that much, so you visit a bail bondsman. The bondsman will require you to pay $2,000, then issue a bond to the court for the total amount of $20,000. Here’s the catch: You need to secure the bond with collateral—usually an asset like a car, jewelry or even your home.
Also keep in mind that for their services, bondsmen charge a premium of 10 percent or more to issue their bond—usually the amount you’re required to put down. Even if your friend shows up to all their court dates, you won’t get this money back.
There are also different types of bail bonds in Angleton, TX and different circumstances that may change your interaction with a bondsman. Keep the basics in mind and you’ll be fine—the bondsman will walk you through the remainder of the process so you can focus on getting your loved one out of jail and on track to resolving their legal situation.