How Does Bail Work in Houston, TX?

27 Mar 2022
Greco Neyland, PC

Once you are arrested, you will have a bail hearing. During this hearing, a judge will set bail, or decide whether you may be released on personal recognizance.

Personal recognizance means that you’re offering a promise to return for your court date.

Most people will have to pay some sort of cash bail. By law, those who are accused of violent crimes may not be released on personal recognizance.

How much does bail cost?

It depends on what you’re being charged with. The judge will set your bail during the bail hearing.

Judges also have the right to deny bail altogether. They usually only do this for violent felonies, but they can do it for any crime.

How do you post bail?

Either through cash bail, the full amount, a bail bond, or a property bond which requires you to allow the court to put a lien on your property. Bail bonds require help from a bail bondsman. You or your family will pay a percentage of the bail, and then the bondsman will pay the rest.

If you make all your court dates, the company will get the money back from the courts. You don’t get your premium back, but for many with high bail amounts this hardly matters.

If you don’t make all your court dates, the bail bondsman will often send bounty hunters after you to return you to a Texas state jail, and you won’t be released on bail a second time.

If you are released on personal recognizance, you might be asked to wear a GPS ankle bracelet or submit yourself to routine drug testing. A PR bond is rarely free of restrictions.

Why Bail Matters

Your chances of acquittal go up exponentially when you can stay out of jail until your trial date. Pretrial detention makes defendants 27.5% more likely to plea bargain out and 27.3% more likely to be found guilty by a jury. That gives you a better chance of helping your lawyers gather exculpatory evidence. Those who must wait in jail tend to be more haggard and less sympathetic-looking when they appear before a jury.

It also reduces your chances of re-offending while in jail. Quite a few individuals end up charged with additional assault crimes in jail, even if they are simply defending themselves. People who went to jail innocent of the crime they are accused of often end up guilty of an entirely different crime.

Those who can get out on bail may be able to salvage their home, family, and employment while awaiting trial as well, and have a better chance of picking up the pieces of their lives once the trial is done.

Bail, of course, isn’t the only key to a positive outcome for your criminal case. If you’re in trouble, you need a private criminal defense attorney to guard your rights. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.

See also:

What Should You Do If There’s a Warrant Out for Your Arrest in Houston, TX?

How to Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent After a Houston, TX Arrest

What Houston, TX Residents Need to Know About Illegal Search and Seizure

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