An Update: How Texas Bail Bonds Work

When you’re arrested, you may not have to await trial in jail. Texas bail bonds allow the accused to have a bail bonds agent post bail on their behalf. As long as the defendant shows up for all court proceedings, their bail will be returned and they’ll be able to stay out of jail pending trial.

Here’s a closer look at how the bail bond system works.

Bail bonds and awaiting trial

Bail bonds are a guarantee (of sorts) that a defendant agrees to attend all court appearances before and during their trial. The defendant puts up a certain amount of collateral (be it cash or property) as a demonstration of good faith. If they fail to appear, however, the bail is revoked and they’ll be taken back to jail until trial.

When bail is too expensive for a defendant to afford themselves—which usually is commensurate with the severity of the crime—they can hire a bail bonds agent to post bail for them. The defendant pays the bail bonds agent a premium, which is usually 10 to 20 percent of the bail amount. As long as the defendant makes all of their appearances, the bail amount is returned to the bail bonds company. The defendant does not receive the percentage back, since that is paid in exchange for fronting the higher amount of money.

However, if the defendant doesn’t make all of their appearances, bail is not only revoked, but they’re also on the hook to pay the bail bonds company back. The company may take legal action against the defendant to recover the amount they forfeited to the jail.

A defendant may also be released on their own recognizance, without needing to post bail.

The cost of bail and COVID-19

Defendants and their attorneys often ask for bail reductions, depending on the severity of the crime, risk to other people, any delays in the trial, the defendant’s ties to the community and potential lack of criminal history. Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred many judges to reduce or eliminate bail in all but the most severe crimes and circumstances.

For example, bail may be reduced or eliminated altogether if the defendant is at particular risk for COVID-19, such as being over age 65, having a history of underlying health conditions or if the defendant may already be infected with the virus. This is in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, particularly in crowded jails where proper social distancing and sanitization is all but impossible.

For the most part, Texas bail proceedings remain largely the same—you will still need an attorney to advocate for reducing bail or releasing you on your own recognizance—but the likelihood of getting reduced bail is much greater thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

If you’ve been accused of a crime and need affordable bail bonds in Angleton, call the team at Brazoria County Bail bonds today. We’ll help you make bail and provide the information you need to begin moving toward a fresh start.

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