It’s very common for individuals not to know much about bail bonds until either they or a loved one is arrested. Here are the most frequently asked questions about bail bonds, the process, how to find a good bail bondsman and any financial concerns. Below are the answers to the most commonly asked questions about bail bonds in Texas:
What Should I Know Before Contacting a Bonding Agent?
- Where is the person being detained?
- What is the full name and/or booking number of the person in jail? The bail bond agent needs this in order to contact the jail.
- How much is the bail? If you don’t have this information, the bail bond agent can get it by contacting the jail. By knowing the total bail amount, they can give you the amount to pay.
How Do I Get A Bail Bond?
There are only four ways to release anyone from jail who is accused of committing a crime:
- Use a bail bonds company or bondsman.
- Post the full bail amount via cash.
- Using property as collateral for the judge to release the inmate.
- The judge decides to let the inmate go on their own recognizance.
Do I Get My Money Back Afterwards?
While there are very few exceptions, for the most part, you do not get your premium back (the amount you paid the bail bond company) after the case is over. This fee (typically 10% of the total bail) ensured the defendant get released from jail, and isn’t refundable. The only way to get your money back is if the bail bond company doesn’t do their part or fails to meet the contract.
Related: Why is Bail So Expensive?
What If I Believe The Defendant Won’t Show Up to Court After Posting the Bond?
There are certain things that can be done to protect your standing if this is the case. Simply contact the bail bond company as soon as possible so they can discuss all your options.
Can The Defendant Leave The State Or Country While On Bond?
In order for the defendant to leave the state or country while on bond and awaiting their court date, they must seek permission from the bonding office (in writing) beforehand. However, if the court issued specific instructions to not leave the state or country, they must get permission from both the bail bond company and the court or judge before leaving. If these protocols aren’t followed, the defendant is at risk for arrest.
Can A Bail Bond Company Give Any Discounts?
The premium paid to get a bail bond ultimately depends on the case. For instance, Texas has a set premium rate of 10% and can potentially take a bondsman’s license if they offer discounts. Some bail bond companies may trick you into believing you get a discount, but end up charging the full amount in the end. If you feel you’ve been deceived or lied to, ask for the rate chart.
Are Some Bail Bond Companies Less Expensive Than Others?
Just like with discounts, the general premium ultimately depend on statutes and regulations. Bail bond companies are licensed and regulated by the state of Texas, and follow strict guidelines. Generally, the principle is that bail bond premium rates are not to be “excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory.”
What Do Bail Bond Companies Accept As Collateral?
Each bail bond company has their own rules and standards for collateral, but for the most part, they each accept various forms. Some common examples of bail bond collateral include:
- Real estate
- Credit cards
- Personal credit
- Bank accounts
What If The Defendant Gets Re-Arrested While On Bond?
When the defendant is back in custody, the bond is surrendered and your personal liability is terminated. However, there are a few issues with this scenario: if you decide to surrender the bond, you’ll lose the premium you paid and won’t get it back. If you should decide to release the defendant again, you’ll have to pay another bond and pay an additional premium.