What is bail in Harris County, Texas?
Bail is a sum of money a defendant pays to be released from custody and remain in the community while their criminal matter is finalized. It is a form of pretrial release.
Bail acts as a deposit to ensure a defendant attends their court hearings. A defendant posts bail by paying the required amount to the court. The court holds this money until the court hearing.
If the defendant fails to attend a court date, they forfeit the money and may be sent back to jail. If a defendant complies with bail, the court returns their money at the end of their matter.
If you are facing criminal charges, it is important you have a defense attorney on your side who understands the law and who can help you fight to clear your name. Contact Vela Law Firm, PLLC by either calling (346) 444-8352 or filling out an online submission form today to schedule a free consultation.
What is the difference between bail and bond in Texas?
‘Bail' and ‘bond' are often used interchangeably. Both allow a defendant to be released from custody while their charges are pending. But there is an important distinction between them.
A bond acts as a guarantee, rather than a deposit. It's a promise made to the court by a third party, usually a bond company, to pay the bail amount on the defendant's behalf if they fail to attend court or breach another condition of their release. In return, the defendant pays the bond company a service fee, usually around 10 to 20% of the bail amount.
How is Harris County, Texas bail decided?
Some jails have preset, non-negotiable bail schedules for common offenses. This allows defendants to post bail directly from custody, without the need for a court hearing.
Otherwise, bail is decided by a judge or court officer. A bail hearing usually occurs within 48 hours of a defendant being charged.
When deciding bail, a judge will consider factors including:
- the seriousness and circumstances of the allegations
- the defendant's criminal history and their risk of reoffending
- the defendant's flight risk, including their ties to the community
Although there are guidelines, a judge can set any amount of bail they see fit, as long as it's not objectively excessive.
Possible outcomes of a bail hearing
The possible outcomes of a bail hearing are:
- the court releases the defendant without bail (on their own recognizance)
- the court grants the defendant bail, setting the amount the defendant is required to pay and any other conditions
- the court denies bail and the defendant remains in custody until their court hearing
If a defendant is granted bail, they must comply with any conditions set by the court.
What happens if a defendant can't post bail?
If a defendant can't post bail, they will remain in custody until their court hearing.
If a defendant cannot personally post bail, they may ask family or friends to help them. Alternatively, they can engage a bail bond company to post a bond on their behalf.
What role does a defense attorney in Harris County, Texas play in bail?
When it comes to bail, the stakes couldn't be higher. If you are denied bail, you risk remaining in jail until your matter is heard. An experienced attorney can help you thoroughly prepare for your bail hearing to give you the best chance of release. That's why you need Vela Law Firm, PLLC on your side.
An attorney can offer you advice based on your circumstances, gather the relevant information needed for a bail hearing, and help you make arrangements if you're unable to personally post bail. Call us today at (346) 444-8352 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.