One of the most common questions people have about bail and bail bonds is how much time it takes between the arrest and being bailed out of jail. In the state of Texas, the process varies from one county to the next, but it’s usually required for people to have a bail hearing within 24 to 48 hours of their initial arrest. If you or a loved one are not immediately released on a PR (personal recognizance) bond, it will be necessary to await this hearing to find out whether bail is going to be offered and at what price it will be set.
How is Bail Determined?
The amount at which bail is set depends on several different factors. The criminal charge at hand, of course, is the first determining factor. Bail will also cost more if there is a previous record or if the crime is a felony rather than a misdemeanor. Every court will have its own specific bail schedule, which can also be superseded by the judge that is conducting the hearing. The factors that may increase bail for a defendant besides the crime itself and its classification include:
-Whether the defendant is considered to be a flight risk
-The defendant is a safety risk to others
-A defendant is on probation when they’re arrested
-Whether there are prior convictions
-Whether restraining orders are present
-The severity of the crime that is being alleged
For example, even someone with a prominent position in the community could find themselves denied bail entirely when they commit a crime like capital murder. The judge will typically review the facts in the case, ask if the defendant or prosecution has anything to say, and then determine where to set the bail based on the information gathered.
In total, you’ll probably expect between 48 and 72 hours before a bail hearing is held, finalized, and you are able to post bail. If you contact a bail bondsman as soon as the arrest occurs, or if you happen to have the cash flow, this process will be much faster. Sometimes, people wait until their bail hearing to find out how much bail is before seeking the help of a bail bonds company. However, it’s best to call them as soon as the arrest is made so that they’re ready to help once you know where the bail will be set.
After the judge determines the bail amount, it is possible to request that the amount is reduced, depending on the reason for the request. For example, if a case is delayed, a bail reduction could occur. This may also happen for people who have already spent enough time in custody, or for some other reasons at the discretion of the judge. Defendants who want to challenge their bail amount will have to request a bail hearing.
If there is no challenge to the bail, it simply needs to be paid or a bail bond can be posted with the court. The bail bond will be done by the bail bonds company if the defendant (or their family) has contacted them to post a bond. Typically, people will have bail or a bond posted at the time of the hearing, which permits their release once the bail is processed so that they can return home and get back to their lives.
What Happens to the Bail Money?
Provided that the defendant makes all of the necessary court appearances, the bail money will be returned, less the required court costs. If the defendant or a family member is posting bail, they will get the returned funds. If a bail bonds company was used, the bond will be released and they will no longer be responsible for securing the defendant financially. This process could happen immediately after a hearing, or the courts could issue a judgment stating repayment be made within “X” amount of time from the hearing date.
If the defendant does not make the necessary court dates, that can result in the bail being completely forfeited. Courts are probably going to issue a bench warrant, which is a warrant for the arrest of the person in question. The bail bonds company will also be eager to find the defendant that skipped bail so that they don’t lose their hard-earned money, since they are responsible for paying the forfeited bail. The court keeps all the forfeited bail money, which means that defendants and their families could lose a lot of money and/or property if court appearances are not made.
Patience is a Virtue
The day or two (or three) it takes to get a bail hearing could seem like an eternity. However, it’s really not that long in the grand scheme of things. At least you’re getting a bail hearing. Those who are denied bail don’t even have that to look forward to. They’re stuck in jail from the time of the arrest for the alleged crime until the end of the case when a final verdict is determined. By working with a reputable bail bonds company, you can get all the reassurance that you need and get a much better understanding of the bail bonds process and timeline.
In Texas, courts are not allowed to take “unnecessary time” to set bail amounts or have bail hearings for those who have been arrested within the state. Therefore, you can typically assume that it will be swift and simple to get from the point of the arrest to the bail setting and release, and even more so when you have the assistance of a reputable bail bondsman on your side.