How Does a Bail Bond Work?

How does bail work?

When an individual is arrested for a crime in the State of Texas, typically that person will be taken to a local law enforcement station for booking, prior to incarceration in a station lock-up or county jail. Once arrested and booked, the defendant has several options for release pending the conclusion of his or her case. Bail is designed to guarantee the appearance of a defendant in court at the time directed by the judge.

What are the release options if someone is arrested?

There are three basic release options available. The three options are:

  • Surety Bond
  • Cash Bail
  • Release on Own Recognizance (O.R.)

An alternative to cash bail is a surety bond. This process involves a contractual undertaking guaranteed by an admitted insurance company having adequate assets to satisfy the face value of the bond. The bail agent guarantees to the court that they will pay the bond forfeiture if a defendant fails to appear for their scheduled court appearances. The bail agent’s guarantee is made through a surety company and/or by pledging property owned by the bail agent.

For this service, the defendant is charged a premium. By involving the family and friends of a defendant, as well as through the acceptance of collateral, the bail agent can be reasonably assured that the defendant released on a surety bond will appear at all of his/her court appearances.

After this procedure is completed, the bail agent will post a bond for the full bail amount, financially guaranteeing the defendant’s return to court as scheduled.

With money on the line, the bail agent has a financial interest in supervising bailees and ensuring that they appear in court each and every time the court orders them to appear. If the defendant does not appear in court (skips), the bail agent has time and the financial incentive to find the defendant and bring him/her to court.

Cash Bail

Cash bail means a person must give the court or jail the total amount of the bail in cash. The cash will be held by the court until the defendant appears at all of his/her court cases and the case is concluded. Full cash bonds provide a powerful incentive for the defendant to appear in court. If the defendant appears for all of his/her scheduled court appearances, the cash bail should be returned.

Release on Own Recognizance (O.R.)

Another method of release pending trial is through a pre-trial release program administered by the county or a law enforcement agency. Usually, the employees of these programs interview defendants in custody and make recommendations to the court regarding the release of individuals on their own recognizance (i.e., without any financial security to ensure the defendant’s return).

The interview process is often conducted over the telephone, usually with little inquiry into the defendant’s background. The interview process attempts to determine whether the detainee is likely to appear in court. There is usually no verification of information provided by the defendant. Since no money, property, or bond is posted to secure the defendant’s appearance in court, he/she faces no personal economic hardship from the conscious decision not to appear in court.

How much does a bail bond (surety bond) cost?

In Texas, the bail premium, or fee, is typically 10 percent (subject to a minimum premium and underwriting criteria) of the full bail amount. For example, if the bail amount is $10,000, the premium charged is $1,000.

How much of the premium will I get back?

Typically the 10 percent premium is fully earned once the bail bond is posted with a jail or court. That is how bail agents and their surety companies make their money and pay their bills.

What is collateral?

Collateral is anything of value used to financially secure a bail bond.

What can be used as collateral?

Some examples of collateral include credit cards, houses, cars, boats, jewelry, or electronic equipment (you get the idea).

When will collateral be returned?

Collateral is usually returned when the court has finished with the defendant’s case(s), exonerating the bail bond(s), and when all fees have been paid.

How long does it take to be released from jail?

There are two types of jails – city jails and county jails.

City jails are operated by city police departments and county jails are operated by the county sheriff. After a defendant is booked into a city jail (i.e., fingerprinted, photographed, warrants checked, etc.), it typically takes anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour to be released on bail.

After a defendant is booked into a county jail, it usually takes anywhere from 2 to 8 hours and up to 24 hours to be released on bail. We wish we could speed up the process but the city and county jails operate at their own pace. Texas Bail Bonds does everything possible to expedite the defendant’s release. Let us assure you we will be by your side every step of the way.

24 comments on “How Does a Bail Bond Work?
  1. joann vidales says:

    Hi my husband is expecting a bond back from an arrest 3 years ago on a immigration case. Do you know how much interest you get back on $8000.00

  2. Karla Andrews says:

    Can i remove my name off a bond? Isigned for my brother and he no longer lives with me. Hes a flight risk.

  3. Brenda Lopez says:

    Hello i have a question, i have a friend in jail right for driving with a suspended license and dwi and other things. My question is he has a bond for $1500 but then has unsufficient bond after that. what does unsufficent bond mean? and if we pay the $1500 will he get out?. Please let me know thank you!.

  4. christina sandate says:

    my friends bail amount is set at 2500. how much would I have to pay through a bail bondsman to have him released?

  5. Walt says:

    I put up a cash bail for a relative. Now I’m sorry I did and want to get my money back. Can I have the county put that idiot back in jail and get a refund?

  6. Mom DG says:

    My child had a 15000.00 bond, the bail company took 1000.00 from me and in stead of 500.00, I owe them 1465.00 which totals 2465.00 total for a 1500.00 bond. Can they charge me this much legally?

  7. Robert Johnson says:

    My friend had to bail her son out of jail in Austin recently and the bail was set @ $2,500. She paid the 10% and he was released.

    She is under the impression that she, not the bail company, is responsible for the $2,500 should her son not appear. And since she lives in Beaumont, and the court is in Austin, she is having to take off work and go to Austin to make sure he makes the court dates.

    I thought the bail company was responsible for the $$$ should the defendant “skip”. Which is why they have “Skip chasers”. Or is all that just TV?

    • says:

      You are both right. While the bail bond company took liability of the $2,500 bond to the courts if the defendant fails to appear at the moment of posting that bond; your friend signed an agreement that she will be liable to the bail bond company of any fees they have to pay to the courts if her son fails to appear in court.

  8. Lorraine says:

    If a bond was paid in full before inmate release……is any part of that bond returned after all court dates are met an case is done?

    • says:

      In most occasions that’s the case. Read the receipt and paperwork you were given at the time of payment, and it will give you instructions about the cash bond you just posted.

  9. Hung Q Dinh says:

    Hi I just bail my son out of jail. The bail is total $6000. I only pay 10 percent to bail him out

    I just known to know if my son missed the court date what will happen. Am I going to pay the $6000. If he dont show up to the court house What is happen to me to bail my son out. I only pay 10 percent of the amount $6000. Please respond

    • says:

      Good Afternoon Hung,
      the answer to your question is yes. You could lose up to $6000 plus any court cost and interests if your son misses a court date without a legit reason. You can even lose more if you are taken to court for refusing to pay the losses to the bondsman.

      If you didn’t get a copy of the contract you signed with the bondsman, I advice you get a copy and get familiar of what you are responsible for.

      Sometimes when a court date is missed, and it wasn’t purposely, is fixable. You should notify the bondsman immediately for instructions on how to fix it if possible. Always keep good communication with the bondsman. As the cosigner, you are entitled to call and find out how your son’s case is going.

      Thank you for contacting us and have a great day

  10. John Neubauer says:

    My friend was arrested, and bail was set at $50,000. He posted $5000 through a bondsman. He was never charged with anything and the case has been dropped by the DA. There were never any court hearings to attend. Nothing! He thinks he is out that $5000. Is that possible?

    • says:

      Good Afternoon Mr. Neubauer and sorry for the late reply. Our site has been down but is back and running. Unfortunately, the $5000 that your friend paid to the bondsman is not refundable no matter of the outcome of the case. The 10% that your friend paid was to get out and stay out of jail while the case was pending. The only time that the premium is refundable is if for any reason the bond doesn’t go through at the moment of posting it. Another way a bond payment is refundable is if you pay the full amount to the jail. Which in this case, your friend would have had to pay $50k.
      I hope this answered your question.

      Thank you for contacting us and you can always give us a call @ 214-752-2245 if you need additional information

  11. Ashley says:

    My boyfriend is in jail now and his bond online says $50k. He keeps telling me I only have to bring $1500, but I see it’s 10%. Every time he goes to court to get a bond reduction, his lawyer never shows up & they just reset it. It’s been like that since last year October 2016. If I bring $1500 will he be released on bond???

    • says:

      Hi Ashley. You would have to call the the bail bond business to find out if a payment plan is possible and if you qualify for it. It depends on the company you call that they will consider several factors before giving you a payment plan. Example: some go by credit status. Some go by how long you been at your job and how much you get paid. Some will check the inmate’s criminal record for court appearance history. Some companies also do not leave balances on cases related to moral turpitude. If you need more specific or additional information, please call us at 214-752-2245.

      Thank you for contacting us

  12. meshelle says:

    Hello.. My son bail bonding company surrendered his bond… Stating to us he did call in twice and he still owe 850.00 from 5000.00…….the owner called me cursing and yelling over the phone to ai am his problem…. Then he states some friend of my son should him a video of him with gun right after release last nov…. Which is a lie…. How can they do this and what laws can protect us…from them lieing…

    • Beto says:

      Hi. Most of the Counties in Texas have a bail bond board that is usually administered by that county’s Sheriff Office. Check With the Sheriff’s department where the bonding agency is located and ask them if they have a bail bond board and if they do, you can make a complaint about any legit issue you have with a bail bonding agency. If the County doesn’t have a bail bond, you should still get with the Sheriff’s Department to obtain information on how to make a complaint.
      I hope this info helps you.
      Thank you for contacting us

  13. Lexie morrow says:

    My fiancé got a call from his bondsman today saying he has a warrant for his arrest for not knowing he still had to call on a rescheduled court date(it was his first time in jail or being arrested then bonded him out) and he was wondering if he could pay the 100 dollars he owes at the day of his court, he hasn’t had a job or money and just got hired today and he doesn’t get payed till the day of his court date. I was wondering if they could drop that warrant if he payed his bond fee on the day of to the court?

    • Beto says:

      You would have to discuss your financial situation to the agency that posted the bond and it is really up to them. You have to keep in mind that it might not only be about paying a fee but also about your fiance following the rules of the agency.

  14. mimi garcia says:

    do you have to be a certain age to bond someone out with a bondsman ?

    • Beto says:

      Even though the minimum age to sign a legal contract is 18 years old, some bail bond companies’ policy is set to be at 21 years old.

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