What Goes Into Determining the Bail Amount?

Bail gives people the opportunity to remain out of jail while they await their trial. Posting bail is easier for some defendants than others, though.

Whether you are arrested for DWI or theft, it is always a frightening experience. However, it is essential to remember that charges mark only the beginning of your case. You may have a long road ahead of you, and you likely want to retain some of your freedom until your trial date is set. Fortunately, the bail system in Texas allows defendants to do this, but bail does not work the same way for everyone. Below, our Austin criminal defense lawyer explains more.

How Bail Works in Texas

The Texas Penal Code allows defendants to be released from custody until their trial date. In exchange, defendants must provide the court with some type of security, or insurance. This insurance is provided in the form of bail, or cash payment. Bail essentially guarantees the court that the defendant will return for their court hearing. If a defendant fails to appear, they forfeit the bail, which is not returned to them.

Bail can sometimes be set at thousands of dollars, an amount many defendants cannot pay. In these instances, defendants may enter into a written agreement with a surety or bail bond company. A bail bondsman will then pay the bail for a small fee, usually 10% of the bail amount. After the defendant has appeared at all their court hearings, the bail is then returned to them or the surety company that paid it. The service fee charged by the surety company is non-refundable.

In 2021, Governor Greg Abbott signed the controversial Senate Bill 6, also known as the bail reform bill, into law. Under this bill, those accused of violent crimes must pay cash before they can be released.

How are Bail Amounts Determined in Texas?

Bail amounts are highly dependent on the reason for the arrest. Individuals arrested for serious crimes will have to pay a higher bail amount than those who were arrested for minor offenses.

Generally speaking, individuals accused of a misdemeanor will have to pay a bail amount between $1,000 and $3,500. Individuals accused of a felony will have to pay a bail amount between $5,000 and $20,000. Those accused of murder will have a bail amount set at $1 million or more.

It is important to note that even with the above guidelines, judges have a great deal of discretion when setting bail amounts. If a judge feels that bail should be set higher or lower, they can deviate from the standard amounts.

Call Our Criminal Defense Lawyers in Texas Now

If you would like more information about how bail amounts are decided, please contact our experienced Texas criminal defense lawyers at Granger and Mueller, P.C. Our experienced attorneys can answer all of your questions, help you obtain a fair bail amount, and build a strong defense for your case. Call us now at (512) 474-9999 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.