Once a person is arrested, he or she may have the ability to post bond. In other words, you can be released from jail. However, this does not mean you have been freed from potentially serving jail time.
When a person is bailed out of jail, he or she is promising to appear in court when required. Your court dates will still be scheduled, but you can be released for a certain period of time. This is a crucial time to start your defense. If you are in jail, you may lose valuable time or resources to consult with your attorney.
If you or someone you know is about to have an arraignment or bond hearing, it’s in your best interest to obtain trusted legal representation.
Harris County Attorney for Bonds in Texas
A criminal trial is unfortunately an expensive process. Reducing or dropping a bond can significantly help you and your family’s finances. If you are about to post bail, it’s essential that you gain a criminal defense attorney.
Attorney Brian Benken is a skilled attorney who thoroughly understands the bonds process in Texas. He has represented numerous clients facing criminal charges ranging from minor misdemeanors to serious felony charges. Get ahead of your charges now and call Brian Benken.
The Benken Law Firm accepts clients throughout all parts of Harris County and surrounding communities including downtown Houston such as the Skyline District, the Theatre District, and Midtown.
Call Brian Benken now at (713) 223 - 4051 to schedule a free consultation.
Overview of Bonds in Texas
- Types of Bonds
- How Bonds are Determined
- Bonds for Those Arrested Without a Warrant
- Benefits of a Attorney for Bonds
- Refunds and Forfeitures
- Additional Resources
Types of Bonds in Harris County, Texas
It is important to know the differences between different kinds of bonds in the judicial system. In Texas, there are three types of bonds that a person can post to be released conditionally from jail.
- Surety Bonds – Commonly referred to as a “bail bond,” a surety bond involves a third party bail bonding company that pays for the bond. The Harris County court must approve the company, and there is usually a charge fee around 10 to 20 percent of the bond amount.
- Personal Bonds – Otherwise known as a personal recognizance bond, this type of bond involves a person who dose not have to put up any money for his or her release. Usually, someone is granted a person bond because they don’t have an extensive criminal history, the crime was considered minor in nature, and other related factors of the case. In some cases, the alleged offender may have to pay a fee of $20 or three percent of the bail amount.
- Cash Bonds – When the alleged offender pays the full amount of bond in full, this is called a cash bond. A cash bond can only be paid in cashier’s check, money order, or cash.
How Bond Values are Determined in Texas
There are several factors a judge will consider during an arraignment or bond hearing. The following are the elements a judge may consider to determine the value of the bond amount.
- Prior Criminal History – The alleged offender’s criminal history is a strong factor when determining the amount of a bond. If the alleged offender has little to no criminal history, he or she will likely have a lower bail amount than a person with a criminal history. Additionally, if the judge believes the alleged offender may be a risk to society the bail may be higher.
- Ability to Post Bail – In some cases, the judge may assess the financial situation and current employment of the alleged offender. If a judge is sympathetic and the crime isn’t violent, he or she may have a lower bond amount.
- Nature of the Crime – A huge component for determining bail is the severity of the alleged crime. If the crime was minor and not violent, then the bail may not be very high. However, if a person is facing charges for a violent or serious crime, he or she may have a high bond or not even be granted bail altogether.
- “Flight Risk” – If the court believes the alleged offender is likely to not return to court, he or she may have an expensive bond. This is to ensure that the alleged offender will go to their scheduled later court dates.
Bonds for Persons Arrested Without an Warrant in Texas
In some cases, a person may be arrested without a warrant and the signing magistrate has not determined any probable cause. Texas Code of Criminal Procedure § 17.033 outlines the following procedures the court must follow if a person is arrested without a warrant.
If a person is arrested for a misdemeanor without a warrant and is detained, he or she must be released on bond. The bond cannot exceed $5,000 and must be determined no later than 24 hours after the arrest. In cases where a person is unable to obtain the finances to pay the bond amount, the alleged offender will be released on a personal bond.
On the other hand, if a person is arrested for a felony without a warrant he or she must also be released on bond. The bond amount cannot exceed $10,000 and the value must be determined no later than 48 hours after the arrest. If the alleged offender does not have the economic ability to pay the bond, he or she will be released on a personal bond.
Benefits of a Defense Attorney for Bond Hearings
Bail amounts can be extremely expensive at times. Fortunately, a skilled attorney can discuss bail issues with the prosecuting attorney. If both parties agree about a certain bail amount or bond conditions, then the court usually will approve of the bond amount. In the event this isn’t possible, a defense attorney has other options.
- Writ of Habeas Corpus – The legal term “writ of habeas corpus” means “the remedy to be used when a person is restrained in his liberty.” A criminal defense attorney can file an application for writ of habeas corpus, which can gain additional information from the prosecutor and possibly obtain a different judge to preside over the alleged offender’s case. This can be a tricky move because the court may require an additional hearing. At this hearing the defense will be required to contest that the sentence and/or bond amount was miscalculated.
- Motion for Bond Reduction – A skilled attorney can also file a Motion for Reduction of Bail. The defense will be required to attend an hearing with a district judge. At this hearing, a experienced attorney can advocate for why the alleged offender can not post bail. Some reasons can include lack of flight risk, financial ability, and if the crime was minor in nature.
Bond Forfeitures and Refunds in Texas
Bond serves as collateral for the court to ensure the alleged offender will return to court. Once the trial is over, there are several ways this money may be returned to you. What happens to the money paid will depend on the type of bond used for bail.
If you paid a cash bond in full, your funds will be returned once the case is finished and the bond’s conditions are satisfied. There may be non-refundable fees associated with the bond. If a person paid the bond with a third party bonding company, then the company will be paid the full amount. However, required feeds from bail-bonding companies are non-refundable.
When an alleged offender fails to return to court, their cash bond will be forfeited. The alleged offender can appear before the court to explain a reasonable cause for missing a court date. If the alleged offender used a surety bond and doesn’t appear, the third party company will forfeit the bonds they paid. In cases where the alleged offender flees the county, the third party company may file a complaint and attest for legal action.
Texas Bail Procedures – Visit the official website for the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure and find more information regarding bonds, the requisites of a bond, and which parties are not allowed to pay for a surety bond.
Harris County Bail Bond Board – Visit the official website for Harris County and find more information surrounding the Harris County Bail Bond Board. Find more information surrounding bail bonds, the board’s agenda, and the approved bondsman list for Harris County.
Houston Lawyer for Bonds in Texas
Have you been posted a bond that is out of your economic range? Are you unsure about the bonds process and how to go about it? If yes, it is vital that you gain trusted legal representation immediately.
Brian Benken is a seasoned attorney who has over 30 years in legal practice. He has represented many Harris County residents who struggle to post bail. Do not let your finances affect your ability to defend your rights. Call attorney Brian Benken today for effective legal action.
The Benken Law Firm represents all communities in Harris County and surrounding communities including Midtown, Greenspoint, Memorial, and Magnolia Park.
Call Brian Benken at The Benken Law Firm at (713) 223 - 4051 or simply submit an online contact form for a free consultation.
This article was last updated on October 12, 2018.