Bail is the means by which the
government ensures the accused person's appearance at trial
while allowing the accused to be "at liberty" before
In some jurisdictions, the
amount of bail required is preset for certain types of arrests,
and posting bail can be a quick and efficient procedure.
Otherwise, bail must be set by
a magistrate, usually within 24 hours, again depending upon
locale and availability of a magistrate.
Bail is posted when the accused
deposits cash at the jail, a bail bondsman "bonds out"
the accused, or the accused signs a "personal
recognizance" bond (basically a promise to appear). At the
time of release, the jail is supposed to inform the accused in
writing of the accused's "court date".
A bail bondsman acts as a
"surety", kind of a co-signer, promising that the
accused will appear for court. The bondsman will be held
responsible for paying the full amount of the bail if the
accused fails to appear for court. The accused is
also liable for the full amount.
The accused basically promises
to appear in court until his case is final. Failure to appear
for court is a crime in and of itself and will result in posted
bail being forfeited and a warrant issued for the accused.
Sometimes these warrants have a
notation of "no bond" on them. A new bond will be set
only after a hearing. The new bond will likely be much higher
than the previous bond, given the person's history of failing to
appear for court as required.
Judges may require so-called
"reasonable" conditions of bail prior to trail. Such
conditions include requiring the accused to report to a
probation department, pay a pretrial supervision fee, and
undergo drug testing and evaluation. The accused is normally
required to refrain from using illegal drugs, avoid the alleged
victim, and maintain employment, among other conditions.
Faithfully appearing at court
dates results in the return of cash bail at the end of the case,
possibly minus a small handling fee by the clerk of the court.
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are for people 21 years or older, do not involve enhancements,
are not exclusive, and are limited to Texas.
**This page is for
informational purposes ONLY and must not be relied upon as legal
advice because it is NOT a substitute for the advice of a qualified
attorney, nor does it establish an attorney-client
Not certified by the Texas
Board of Legal Specialization.