How Do Judges Set Bail?

If you are arrested and charged with committing a crime in Collin County, such as DWI or a drug offense, a judge will decide how much bail you need to post so that you can be released from custody pending trial. The conditions of bail depend on a number of factors, including a defendant’s past criminal record and the nature of the crime currently charged.

Personal Bond vs. Cash Bail

Bail is defined in Texas law as “the security given by the accused that he will appear and answer before the proper court the accusation brought against him.” Bail is not a form of punishment. The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution forbids any judge from setting “excessive” bail that is not proportionate to the offense alleged or the defendant’s risk of fleeing before trial.

In many cases, a defendant does not even have to pay cash bail. The judge can release a defendant on “personal bond,” basically the person’s word they will appear at trial. A judge may still set certain conditions. For example, in cases involving DWI or drug offense, the court may condition personal bond on the defendant receiving drug testing or counseling.

If a defendant is not released on personal bond, the court will set cash bail. Sometimes the amount of bail is specified in the arrest warrant. Otherwise, the exact amount is left to the court’s discretion. A judge or magistrate will consider the nature of the alleged crime and any previous failure by a defendant to appear in court. In serious cases, such as murder or drug trafficking, a judge may deny bail altogether.

Bail Bonds

Many times a defendant lacks the financial resources to post cash bail. In those cases a person can obtain a bail bond. This is a third party (a “guarantor”) that agrees to pay the court the full amount of bail if the defendant fails to appear. The guarantor requires the defendant to post a portion of the bail, usually 10 percent, as a fee for the bond service. So, if a defendant is released on $10,000 bail in a felony case, the defendant pays the guarantor $1,000 to post a bond.

Get Help From a Frisco Criminal Defense Attorney

An arrest is a traumatic experience, especially if you have never been in trouble with law enforcement before. Your first priority is understandably making bail and getting out of jail. An experienced Collin County federal criminal defense lawyer can help you with bail and other legal aspects of your case. Contact Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian if you need immediate assistance.

Written by: Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian Last Updated : August 14, 2023