If someone you care about has been arrested, you might be wondering what you can do to get them out of jail. This is not always possible. But, in most cases it is. In order to get your loved one out of jail, you are generally going to have to hire an attorney to arrange a personal recognizance bond or hire a bail bondsman to post a surety bond. If you’re unsure of how this process works, this quick guide can point you in the right direction.

What are Bail Bonds?

Historically speaking, when someone was arrested, they would have to sit in jail until their case was resolved. In modern times, except in extreme cases, bail is typically set. What this means is that an individual can post a sum of money to secure their release, while the charge is pending. This is not a fine, but merely to guarantee a defendant’s appearance. At the conclusion of the case, it is returned to the defendant, less a small administrative fee.

What are the Different Types of Bonds?

Cash Bond:

There are a few different types of bonds. The first option is a cash bond. With this type of bond, the family of the incarcerated individual will generally post the full amount of the bond in cash. This money will be held until the individual attends all their court dates. Once the matter has been resolved in court, the bond will be returned to the family. If the individual does not show up for court, the bond will be forfeited and the family will not receive the money back. Cash bonds are not common. Most people are either granted a personal bond or a surety bond.

Personal Recognizance Bonds:

Travis County and other progressive counties realized that the traditional bail process was dis-proportionally affecting lower income individuals. Progressive counties, including Travis County, routinely grant personal recognizance bonds. In Travis County, everyone who is arrested is interviewed for a personal bond. Then shortly after the arrest, the magistrate on duty will decide whether or not to grant it. If the bond was initially denied, it may be possible for an attorney to later convince the magistrate to grant it. Or, the attorney may be able to have a different judge grant the bond (such as the judge who will ultimately be presiding over the case). If a personal bond is granted, the individual will be released without having to post money, other than a small personal bond processing fee.

Surety Bond:

In the event a personal recognizance bond is not granted, a surety bond may be necessary.  For most, paying the full amount of the bond in cash is not a feasible option. In that event, a bail bondsman can post a surety bond. For this type of bond, you will pay the bondsman a fee that is based on a percentage of the bond that was posted. In most cases, this fee is 10 to 20 percent of the bond. You will not receive the money that you pay to a bondsman back. The defendant will have to routinely check in with their bondsman.  If the accused do not show up for court, he or she may be responsible for paying the bondsman back the full amount of the bond. Therefore, bondsman often want collateral before they agree to sign surety bond. This collateral may include a house or a car.

How is Bail Calculated?

Different people have different bail amounts. The amount of the bail is usually based on a few different factors. First, the judge or magistrate will look at the severity of the crime. For very serious crimes, such as murder, there might not be a bond at all. For other serious crimes, there might be a very high bond. For less serious charges, the bond amount might be lower. In addition to looking at the type of crime accused, the magistrate might look at things like criminal history, any ties to the community, and many other factors. If the bond is unreasonably high, an attorney can sometimes help. In many cases, a lawyer can file a motion for a reduced bail.

Having a loved one in jail can be an upsetting situation. If you have found yourself in this type of scenario, you should hire an attorney to help. Contact us at the Law Office of Eric Harron. We can help you with your situation.