When a person is arrested for a crime in Texas, they are taken to the local police station for booking and are held in jail until they are able to either post bail or secure a release on their own recognizance. Bail is a process in which a person pays a certain amount of money as collateral in exchange for their release, under the promise that they will attend their designated court date and face their accusations. If a person shows up to all designated court dates, they will receive their money back, if they posted a cash bond, minus any administrative fees. Those who fail to show up as promised will forfeit their entire bail amount and have a warrant issued for their arrest.
A person can either post a cash bond or visit a bail bondsman who will post bail on their behalf in exchange for a 10 to 20 percent seller’s fee and additional collateral. Using a bail bondsman can be costly, since some offenses can bring bail amounts ranging up to six and seven figures.
How are Bail Amounts Determined in Harris County?
Bail amounts will vary depending on the offense, a person’s risk of fleeing, and a person’s criminal history. In Harris County, minimum bail for misdemeanor offenses follows a preset bail schedule.
- Class B misdemeanors: For a first offense, bail will start at $500. Bail will increase by $500 or $1,000 for each prior misdemeanor or felony conviction, respectively. Bail is not to exceed $5,000.
- Class A misdemeanors: A first offense starts at $1,000 bail. Subsequent offenses bring $500 or $1,000 for each prior misdemeanor or felony conviction, respectively. Bail is capped at $5,000.
- Family Violence or Threat of Violence: Bail starts at $1,500 with $2,000 added for each prior conviction for a violent offense or threat of violence.
- DWI: First-time DWI offenders are given a starting bail of $500. Bail for multiple offenders starts at $2,500 plus $1,000 for each prior conviction. Bail will not exceed $5,000.
- Offenses while on bond, under supervision, or on parole: Bail is set at $5,000.
What is a P.R. Bond?
In some situations, a judge may allow a person to be released on their own recognizance without the need for bail. Commonly referred to as a Personal Recognizance Bond or PR Bond, this type of release only requires a person to submit a written promise that they will appear in court. P.R. Bonds are only granted in certain situations and the assistance of an experienced attorney can be helpful.
A judge will consider the following factors when granting a P.R. Bond:
- The severity of the crime
- The defendant’s criminal record
- Whether or not the defendant poses a risk to the community
- Whether or not the defendant has a risk of fleeing
Arrested? Contact a Sugar Land Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested, a Sugar Land criminal defense lawyer from Stornello Law Firm, P.C. can advocate for an O.R. release on your behalf and potentially save you thousands of dollars in fees. Our award-winning attorneys have more than 25 years’ combined experience and have defended countless clients against various criminal charges, giving us the experience you need to maximize your chances of securing a desirable outcome for your situation.
To find out more about what our team of Super Lawyers® can do for you, call (281) 369-4506 or request a free consultation today!