Under Texas law, any person arrested must be taken before a magistrate judge who advises the arrestee of his rights and the charges against him and sets "bail." Bail is the amount the arrestee must pay to be released from custody pending trial. The Magistrate generally sets bail in an attempt to guarantee that the arrestee will return for court after he is released. There is no set bail amount for any particular charge. The Magistrate sets bail based on a number of factors, including, but not limited to, employment, marital status, parental status, seriousness of offense, and prior failures to appear. The higher the risk the arrestee will not return to Court, the higher the bail. An arrestee who cannot "make bail" may ask his attorney (once he gets one) to try to get the bail reduced.
An arrestee can "make bail" by posting a "cash bond," a "surety bond," or, sometimes, a "personal bond." An arrestee posts a "cash bond" by paying the total bail amount to the Court. Sometimes a Court will allow an arrestee to simply post a percentage of the total bail. The percentage is generally no less than 10% and referred to as a "10(or other) % cash bond." The arrestee will have to pay the total bail amount if he does not appear for Court as required. The Court will return an arrestee's cash bond, upon resolution of his case, if he appears in Court as required. A "surety bond" is better known as a "bail bond." An arrestee pays a fee to a bail bondsman, who in turn posts a surety bond with the Court. The surety bond is the bail bondsman's promise that he will pay the total amount of the arrestee's bail if the arrestee fails to appear in Court as required. A bail bondsman typically charges between 2% and 10% of the total bail and some allow an arrestee to make payments. The arrestee must sign an agreement promising to reimburse the bail bondsman if the arrestee fails to show for Court and the bondsman has to pay the total bail. Generally a bail bondsman requires that someone other than the arrestee guarantee reimbursement. Sometimes a bail bondsman may require collateral. A bail bondsman does not refund his fee if the arrestee appears in Court as required. An attorney is sometimes also a bail bondsman. In some cases, typically only those involving minor offenses, a Court may allow an arrestee to post a "personal bond." A "personal bond" is simply a written promise by the arrestee that he will appear in Court as required and, if he does not, he will pay the total bail.
The foregoing information is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. It should not be considered a substitute for seeking legal advice from an attorney. If you would like to discuss further a specific situation, please contact an attorney.