How Does Posting Bail Work
When a person is arrested in the Dallas area, no matter what the reason or who may be at fault, the first thing to do is secure their release from jail quickly by having a bondsmen help you in posting a bond. To help you understand what to expect after an arrest in Dallas County or Tarrant County, here is a general overview of the criminal justice process.
How is bail determined?
The Judge determines bail, but most jails set standard bail amounts for common charges so that you do not have to wait days to see a judge. The Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution specifies that bail must not be excessive. Bail is not supposed to raise money for the government or financially punish citizens that are accused (not convicted) of a crime. Instead, bail allows defendants to stay free until they have their day in court.
Posting and Paying for Bail
If you are arrested and cannot afford the posted bail, you can request lower bail. This request requires you eligible to post bail if you already have a “hold” on your record, such as unpaid traffic tickets or some other pending charges from another governmental agency. If you cannot make bond or do not qualify for bail, you must remain in jail until your court date.to wait for the court to set a special bail hearing or for your first court date (called an arraignment). You may not be
What happens after posting bail?
Defendants must appear in court on the day and time instructed or the court may forfeit the bail bond, causing you to lose any bail money you’ve paid. The court may also issue an arrest warrant if you “skip bail.” In certain cases, a judge may set specific conditions that a defendant must comply with while out on bond. A requirement to “obey all laws” is common, but some conditions relate specifically to the alleged crime, such as an order not to contact the complaining witness in a domestic violence case.
Getting Released from DFW Jails
If the full amount is paid up front, your bail amount will be refunded (less a small administrative fee) when you’ve made all required court appearances. A Dallas County bail bond agent will accept a percentage of the total bail amount (typically 10%) to guarantee the full bail amount to the court. The bond seller’s fee is non-refundable and may require collateral to further ensure the defendant’s appearance in court. A bail bondsman can redeem this collateral (car, home, or other valuable property) if the suspect fails to appear in court.
Bail can be paid in several different ways:
- Cash bond or check for total bail amount
- Property bond worth the full amount of bail
- Surety bond to guarantee payment of the full bail amount
You may request release without bail on your own recognizance (also called ROR), if you can show the court you are unlikely to flee. Release from jail ROR, without bail, requires defendants to meet certain criteria:
- Strong ties to community such as parents, children, spouse in the Dallas/Fort Worth area
- History of living in the area for many years
- Steady employment
- Little or no past criminal record
- If charged with previous crimes, defendant has always appeared as required.
Released From Jail Without Bail
In some cases, federal law requires that a defendant be released on personal recognizance or upon execution of an unsecured appearance bond. Released defendants must not commit any crimes during the period of release.
If a court determines that personal recognizance or an unsecured appearance bond will not reasonably assure the defendant’s appearance, or determines that the safety of a person or the community is endangered, a defendant may be released upon conditions. These defendants may be required to:
- Limit travel
- Maintain or seek employment
- Undergo drug/alcohol testing
- Undergo medical/psychiatric/psychological treatment
- Maintain or commence an educational program
- Comply with a curfew
- Refrain from excessive use of alcohol or any use of narcotic drugs
- Remain in the custody of a designated person
- Comply with periodic check-ins with authorities
- Refrain from possession of a firearm
- Refrain from contact with crime victim or others designated by the court
- Execute a bond agreement with the court or a solvent surety in an amount as is reasonably necessary to ensure the defendant’s appearance
- Agree to other reasonable conditions the court may impose to ensure a defendant’s appearance
What happens after you are Free on Bond
If you are free on bond you should be notified by mail (at the address you gave the jail when you were released) as to the date, time and designated courtroom where you must appear. However, do not assume the court will contact you. It is the responsibility of the defendant to know what is expected of them while free on bond. Stay in close contact with the jail, the court clerk, your lawyer (if you have one) and your Dallas TX bail bond agent.
The Dallas Bar Association advises defendants to report directly to that courtroom on the arraignment date. Each court posts a docket sheet in front of the courtroom. Confirm that you are in the right place by looking at the list of defendants, attorneys and types of court cases on the docket sheet. Some courts require that you come inside the courtroom, while others tell you to remain in the hall directly outside the assigned courtroom until your name is called. If you don’t know where to go, it is always best to enter the courtroom and check in with the court bailiff or court coordinator.