When a loved one gets arrested for a crime, there is the immediate feeling that everything’s out of control. You may believe that the system is unfair or cumbersome, but there are rules that must be followed before a potential offender will be released from the county jail. This is simply because the person who has been detained is now part of the justice system serving San Antonio, TX. San Antonio is part of Bexar County, which is regulated by its own Bail Bond Board. This local entity maintains an online listing of all companies licensed to issue surety bonds within the county.
Learning the Bail Bond Process
Sometimes, trying to get someone out of jail seems tedious. That’s because the justice system feels like it moves slowly, which makes it hard for family members and friends of detainees to get solutions. A huge concern to address immediately is whether your loved one will be eligible for bail. Setting bail is, of course, up to the judge in each case, but here are some common questions that will help you get started:
Will the detainee be released on his or her own recognizance?
Whether the judge will grant this request depends on the severity of the charges, the detainee’s ties to the community, and his or her criminal record. For a serious charge, if someone is considered a flight risk due to his or her past behavior, the judge may deny bail.
The detainee will also need to decide if they would like to utilize a personal recognizance bond. When someone is release on his or her own recognizance, they are immediately placed on probation, without yet being found guilty. They will also be required to undergo drug and alcohol monitoring with a probation office, all of which must be paid by the detainee. In many cases, a third party bail bond is a better route for the detainee and can end up costing less.
How much of a down payment will be required?
In general, there are two types of bail. A cash bond is an arrangement in which you deposit the full amount of the bond at the Clerk of Court’s office. This amount gets returned to the person listed on the bond after the detainee makes all court appearances and after all court fees are paid. A surety bond is an arrangement between a bail bondsman, a purchaser, and an insurance company. The purchaser (that’s you) must provide enough collateral for the insurance company to recover the value of the surety bond in the event the detainee fails to make all appearances.
Typically, with a surety bond, the down payment required will range from 2% to 4% with the remainder of the 10% total due through weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly payments. Your situation will vary on a variety of things including when you get paid, where you live, and the kind of warrant.
Who can secure a bail bond?
If you are 18 years of age or older, you can secure a bail bond on anyone’s behalf. You don’t have to be a relative. Be sure to provide your name and address to the court when using your own cash to pay the bond. Alternatively, provide the detainee’s name and address to the court when using his or her cash so the money will be refunded in that name upon conclusion of the case.
Of course, not everyone is going to have the cash on hand to bail someone out of jail. That’s where a bail bond from a bail bonds company comes into play. It can even be a better option than paying upfront with your own cash! Instead of depleting your savings, you can get the money to bail out your loved one at very reasonable terms.
How long does it take to process a bail bond?
First, the defendant must attend a hearing and wait for a judge to set bail. Many bail bond agents operate 24 hours a day or have extended hours because people may get detained in Bexar County at any time. You can get started working with an agent over the phone and move quickly after the bond is set. After the surety bond is posted, you must wait for the detainee’s release to be processed.
In general, it takes two to four hours for a detainee to be booked in. Once the bond is posted it can take four to 12 hours for the detainee to be released. Also note that if this is the first time your loved one has been arrested, it will typically take longer.
Under what circumstances am I liable for the bond?
Depending on the size of the bond or any unusual circumstances, you may be required to use collateral to secure the bond. In this circumstance, you should not attempt to secure a bond using an asset for collateral that you cannot afford to lose. For example, some bond purchasers use their home or vehicle as a form of collateral. Once the detainee is released from jail, he or she may leave the area or just not attend all court hearings. The risk of losing your collateral is determined by your ability to get this person to all court dates, and he or she may not cooperate.
In most situations, though, you are not required to use collateral to secure a bond. You are, however, liable for the bond as soon as your loved one walks out the doors through the final disposition in court where the charges are dismissed, the detainee is given probation, or they are sentenced.
For more details on securing a bail bond in San Antonio, please contact us today. The friendly staff at River City Bail Bonds will help you expedite the process to get your loved one out of jail.