Ever wondered what determines the price of bail in Texas? Every arrest comes with a bail to pay. And contrary to popular belief, the price is not set in stone. A variety of different factors all play a part on how bail is set in Texas, but we’ve done the work for you and come up with a quick breakdown on what causes a bail to fluctuate. Here are some of the ways in which Texas law sets bail amounts, and what could work in your favor to reduce the amount of bail money required.
What Exactly is a Bail?
Let’s start by defining terms.
A DUI (driving under the influence) arrest is just one example of the most common arrest placed in the state of Texas. If a police officer arrested you on a typical Saturday night for a suspected DUI, for example, you would have a chance to escape on a bail (otherwise known as a bond). After the arrest, the police officer would escorts you to jail and complete an affidavit on the probable cause for your arrest that night. It may take a few hours after this notice is handed into the judge that you – the defendant – can appear before the magistrate judge. Once the magistrate judge reviews your arrest affidavit, it’s the magistrate’s job to determine whether there’s sufficient grounds to arrest you or not. If the magistrate believes there is, he or she will usually set the bail. Once the bail is set, you can either pay it yourself, call someone to post your bail, or call a bail bondsman to come to your aide.
Type of Arrest
In the state of Texas, the price of the bail depends highly upon the reason the person was arrested. It’s standard bail practice for different amounts of money to be assigned for different crimes, and bail amounts usually fall within those parameters. Judge discretion can play a factor on setting bail in some special cases, but the main influence on the bail is the severity of the crime.
If the police, however, have a warrant out for your arrest, the bail is tied to the warrant itself. Bail prices in those cases are often tied directly to the charges against them, and if the judge approves – the bail is set. Arrest warrants do not grant a person a lot of wiggle room in terms of bail amounts, but there are some exceptions to the rule. For starters, if that person arrested is not allowed to bond out in the state of Texas – for example, he or she is on a felony probation or currently violating their terms and conditions – the court can deny that person’s bond and let the motion sit with the outcome of Motion to Revoke.
It is very much within the decision of the judge to decide the amount of bail set in your case, within range. In Texas, bail bonds are set at lower rates in the $1,000-$3,500 for misdemeanors or less serious crimes. Felonies range from $5,000-$20,000. Suspected murder bail bonds start at usually $1 million or more. These standard amounts in Texas tend to stay between these ranges, but the judge or magistrate signs off on what he or she feels is the most appropriate under the circumstances of the arrest.
When it comes to actually making bail, folks have a few options. Posting a cash bond is a great way to start. You’ve seen this in the movies – someone comes in who the defendant knows personally and posts a bond for them. If a bond is set on the person for $3,000, that friend, relative, or acquaintance the defendant knows will post $3,000 with the local Sherriff at the jail in which he’s held. That guarantee means that the defendant will show up in court on their date when they are supposed to. But if the defendant doesn’t show up, the judge can forfeit the bail, losing the $3,000 for good – and the court will issue another warrant for arrest.