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Unable to pay amount of bail?

Posted on June 13th, 2016

Unable to pay amount of bail?

There is no set rule in Texas law that determines the amount of bail to be set. Instead, the rules that regulate the setting of bail state that the bail “shall be sufficiently high to give reasonable assurance that the undertaking will be complied with.” All that means is that the amount of bail should be of a sufficient amount that the person released on that bail will not ignore his or her obligation to appear in court to answer to the charges.

Bond is to court what cheese is to a mousetrap.

Generally, bond amounts escalate based on criminal history and on the seriousness of the offense. So, if your loved one has limited criminal history and the offense for which they are charged is not one that shocks the conscience, there may be hope in seeing the bond amount lowered.

Harris County magistrates refer to something called a “bond schedule” when determining what amount the bond should be. The “bond schedule” is not the law and is not set in stone. Indeed, another of the rules that should direct magistrates in the proper setting of bonds states that the “power to require bail is not to be used as…an instrument of oppression.”

So, if the bond amount set is too high for you to pay, here are some options to consider:

  1. Call several reputable bail bond companies. Instead of paying the full amount of the bond you will likely be asked to pay approximately 10% of the full value. Call more than one bondsman. Some will offer you a better price. Some will work with you on payments.
  2. If the bond is still too high your lawyer may be able to help. In certain situations we may be able to approach the assistant district attorney handling the case and get them to agree to a more reasonable bond amount.
  3. If the assistant district attorney will not agree to be reasonable we can approach the judge of the court where the case is assigned and make a case for why the bond amount should be lowered.
  4. If the judge will not agree to a more reasonable bond amount we can file something called a “Writ of Habeas Corpus,” or “bond writ.” The bond writ is a much more complicated process that should only be pursued if circumstances warrant it. But, your attorney should be able to help you make that determination.


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