If you, or someone you love is facing criminal charges for the first time, soon you will learn about bail. What is bail, and what does it have to do with criminal defendants? In Texas, bail is covered under Title 1, Chapter 17 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Under Art. 17.01, bail is defined as “the security given by the accused that he will appear and answer before the proper court the accusation brought against him.” Bail also includes personal bonds and bail bonds, according to Art. 17.01.
What is a Bail Bond?
What is a bail bond exactly, and what are the benefits? When a court accepts a bail bond, it’s accepting the bond in exchange for letting the defendant be out in the community (free) while the defendant’s case is pending in the court. This allows the defendant to work and support their families. The bail bond is good until the case is over.
When a defendant obtains a bond, usually the defendant pays about 10% of the bail to a bondsman. However, the defendant may also need to put something up as collateral, such as an interest in their primary residence or another piece of real property.
As long as the defendant shows up in court for all of his or her court dates, the bail will end, but the bondsman will keep their 10% fee. On the other hand, if the defendant fails to appear for one of their court hearings, the judge can issue a bench warrant (for the defendant’s arrest), and demand that the defendant pays the entire bail amount.
Duty of the Bail Bondsman
Suppose a defendant does not show up in court and a warrant is issued for his or her arrest. Usually, what happens next is the bondsman takes it upon himself to look for the defendant, detain him or her, and bring the defendant back. If you’ve ever seen the show Dog the Bounty Hunter on A&E, you’d have any idea how this works.
If the bondsman catches the defendant, the bondsman’s will either try to avoid having to pay the full bail, or they will sell the collateral so the bail can be satisfied.
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