If you are arrested, you will go before a magistrate judge for a hearing called an arraignment. At the arraignment hearing, the magistrate judge will make sure you understand the charge(s) against you, and she will usually set a bond amount for your release. Your next step is to get out of jail while you resolve your case.
The magistrate judge will set a bond/bail amount you have to post in order to get out of detention, pending the resolution of your case. Bail is a payment made by you promising that you will appear at every court hearing while your case is pending. There are 3 types of bail available that is designed to guarantee the appearance of the defendant in court at all times requested by the judge.
The three types of bond are:
- Surety Bond
- Cash Bond
- Personal Recognizance
Surety Bond -
This type of bond involves your hiring a company that will pay the bail amount to the jurisdiction (county where you are accused of committing the crime) and will make sure you are present at each court setting by notifying you of those dates. When you use a bond company, you usually only pay 10% of the bail amount. For example, if your bond is set at $1,000, you would pay $100 to the bond company to get out of jail. Keep in mind that you will not get the money that you paid bond company back once the case is closed.
Many bond companies will also make you report with them once a week or however often they want and may impose additional conditions. Make sure to report with your bond company until your case is resolved. Even more important, you must maintain weekly contact with your attorney’s staff, and report any issues you might be experiencing with the bond company; let your attorney resolve those issues; do not do so yourself.
Cash Bond -
If the magistrate judge specifies that she wants the bond to be paid in full in cash, or you want to do so, you have to pay the full amount and you cannot use a bond company. The amount of cash paid will be held until the case is resolved and then it will be refunded to the person who paid the bond at the conclusion. Sometimes, cash bonds can be easier than going through a bond company because not only do you get the money refunded at the end, but you also do not have to report with anyone; just make sure you go to all your required court hearings!
Personal Recognizance (PR) Bond -
A personal recognizance (PR) bond is common in federal criminal cases, but it not offered routinely in Texas criminal cases. Currently, criminal defense attorneys, like those at the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC are fighting to make PR bonds more common in all courts. Usually, an individual sits a couple of days or weeks before a judge may consider giving someone a personal recognizance bond.
The type of crime and the individual’s criminal history are factors taken into consideration by a magistrate judge in choosing a PR bond. If the judge decides to give a PR bond, you do not have to pay anything to be released. With a PR bond, you are promising the court that you will be present at every court setting, and if you are not, you will be responsible for the total bond amount originally set, and you will be rearrested.
There is a special situation with PR bonds. If you remain in jail because you cannot post bond, then the prosecutor in your case MUST file the charges by complaint, information, or indictment within: 15 days for a Class B Misdemeanor, 30 days for a Class A Misdemeanor, or 90 days for any Felony. If the charges are not filed within those time frames, then you are entitled to be released without a surety under a personal recognizance bond.
Contact the lawyers at the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC if you are charged with a crime. We can help defend you against various crimes and will fight vigorously to protect your legal rights. You can call us 24/7 by calling (214) 238-9392.