When a loved one gets arrested, you probably want to do everything you can to help him or her, and helping often takes the form of bailing your loved one out of jail. Before you reach for your checkbook or credit card to bail someone out of jail, there are a few things you should consider. Here are some essentials you need to know.
1. It Usually Takes 12 to 18 Hours for Bail to Be Set
Normally, after someone is arrested in Texas, they go before a judge who sets their bail. The judge works form a schedule but may raise, lower or even eliminate the bail amount depending on the circumstances. Typically, this process takes anywhere from 12 to 18 hours, but it can take longer in some situations.
2. There Are Different Types of Bail Bonds
In Texas, there are several different types of bail bonds. The courts may require a surety bond or a cash bond. Cash bonds must be paid in cash or a cash equivalent by the prisoner or someone close to them, but if the court requests a surety bond, you can work with a bail bond agency. If the arrested person has fines or warrants, these may need to be paid in full before the person can leave the jail.
Luckily, in some cases, a bail bond company can help you cover the costs of warrants as well as bail amounts.
3. Fees Paid to Bail Bond Companies Are Nonrefundable
If your loved one needs a surety bond to get out of jail and you can't afford to pay it out of pocket, you may decide to work with a bail bond company. Basically, you pay the company a percentage of the bail bond amount, and the company covers the rest of the bail bond.
The fee you pay to the bail bond company is not refundable. The bail bond company uses those fees to cover their overhead and keep their business running so that it can help additional people in the future.
4. There May Be Some Paperwork Involved
When you work with a bail bond company to bail a loved one out of jail, there may be some paperwork involved. To understand why, you need to look at the basic premise of how the bail works. Essentially, bail acts as a guarantee to the courts that the accused will show up for trial.
If the accused shows up, bail is refunded, but if the accused does not show up, the courts can keep the bail. Because the bail bond company can't afford to risk to lose these amounts, these companies typically require people who take out bail bonds to fill out some paperwork.
The paperwork can vary from company to company, but generally, it just ensures that if your loved one does not show up for trial that you will repay the bail bond company for the entire amount of the posted bail. Luckily, this hardly ever happens.
5. People Who Aren't Bailed Out Are More Likely to Plead Guilty
As explained above, helping a loved one post bail is a serious decision. However, there can be very serious consequences for people who are not bailed out of jail. In particular, if someone has to sit in jail until his or her trial, he or she becomes a lot more likely to plead guilty. In a lot of cases, people who don't get bailed out of jail also end up pleading guilty to crimes that are worse than they would have pleaded to if they had been released.
Helping your loved one get out may help him or her avoid this fate. Note that this also affects people who are innocent. If your loved one is innocent, don't assume that fact alone will save him or her from a jail sentence.
To learn more about bailing someone out of jail, contact us directly. At Austin Bail Bonds, we have the experience you need to guide you through the process of bailing out a loved one.