Texas bail bonding agencies are organizations that step in to lend money to defendants when they would like to be released from jail. Most bail bonding agencies will charge about ten percent of the amount of the bail in order to fork over the full amount of the bail. As such, if a defendant has a bail set at $100,000, then bail bonding agency will charge the defendant $10,000 as a down payment for the full amount of the bail. The bonding agency will give the court the full $100,000, but only as a guarantee that the defendant will show up to court to stand trial.
In the event that the defendant fails to show up to court, the bail bonding agency will lose the full bail bond.
However, if the defendant does show up to court, then the bail bonding agency will get a refund of the amount of the bail bond that is equal to one hundred percent, minus some administrative fees. However, the down payment that the defendant has to make is not refundable. Therefore, if the defendant makes a $10,000 for a $100,000 bail, that defendant will lose all $10,000, even if he or she shows up to court.
In any county in the United States, defendants do not have to use bail bonding agencies. In fact, it is cheaper in Dallas County, Texas if a defendant can fork over the full amount of the bail on his or her own. When a defendant can pay the full bail amount, as long as the defendant goes to trial on his or her court date, he or she will get a full refund of the bail amount. However, most people do not have enough money in order to post bail, so they require the assistance of a Dallas County bondsman.
If a defendant works with a bail bondsman and does not actually go to court to stand trial, the bondsman will likely send a bounty hunter after the defendant. When the bounty hunter finds the defendant, he can arrest the defendant and make him or her return to jail. In such a case, the bonding agency may receive a refund of the amount of the bail bond. The U.S. is the only country that allows bounty hunting, in which the profession is now known as “fugitive recovery.”
Bonding agencies may also make money if a defendant puts up real property as collateral for bail. For instance, in Tarrant County, Texas, if the defendant fails to show up to court, then the Tarrant County bail bondsman may take the real property and sell it for more than it bought it for. Such is the case when a bonding agency takes out a lien on a house and sells the house at foreclosure for the cost of the lost bail bond money.
How to Bail Someone Out in Texas
Following an arrest, someone is responsible for contacting a bail bondsman to start the bailout process. This is typically a lawyer, friend, family member, or the defendant themselves. If cooperative, the jail officials will allow a person to make as many calls as they need to get bailed out of jail. With bad behavior, this privilege can be taken away.
Once a bail agent is contacted, basic information will need to be collected. The agent will ask where the person is being detained, on what charges, length of time held, criminal history, residence information, employment history, and more. All of this information is pertinent to the bail bond process.
If the obligation of a bail bond is accepted by the purchaser, (i.e. lawyer, defendant, family, or friend), then a short series of documents will need signed and dated. This is a bail agreement or contract. They differ from state to state, and among bail bondsmen. These documents include: a Bail Indemnity Agreement, a Bail Bond Application Form, and a Receipt of Purchase.
Bailing One’s Self Out of Jail in Texas
If a person is bailing themselves out of jail, it is common for a bail bondsman to be dispatched out to the jail to pick the defendant up and take them back to their offices to complete the paperwork.
After all information is collected and the paperwork is approved, the bond agent can begin “posting” the bail bond at the jail the person is being held at. Depending on the charges, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. The bail bonds procedure cannot begin until the jail is done processing the defendant. Jails can take as long as they like to do so, especially if the person was arrested under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Once they are processed, a good bail bondsman can gain them a release from jail in just a few hours.
After the bond is posted, the defendant is free to go home, on the obligation to show for all scheduled court dates and hearings. Otherwise, they will forfeit their entire bond amount and be eligible for re-arrest.