Bail process in San Antonio.
While there are a number of detention facilities in the River City, many people who are arrested are taken to the Adult Detention Center. No matter the facility, a defendant is not allowed to contact a friend, family member or bail bond company until the booking process has been completed. When a misdemeanor crime is involved, it’s possible to be released in a just a few hours – whether a defendant is posting cash or hiring a bail bond agent. That’s because bail can be quickly determined when a non-violent misdemeanor is involved from a Bexar County bail schedule. When the crime is more serious, the release process takes longer because there will be a bond hearing that may or may not be held the same day as the arrest.
Types of Bail in San Antonio.
There are four options for posting a bond to be released from jail in San Antonio. The options include:
- Personal recognizance. In some cases, defendants are released without paying bail. Instead, they sign a document promising to show up for all scheduled court hearings. This is known as a PR bond and is generally used for first-time defendants when a non-violent misdemeanor is involved. Defendants with previous arrests generally are not allowed to be released on a PR bond.
- Cash bond. Any defendant with the resources can post a cash bond – perhaps the quickest way to be released from jail. The entire amount of bail must be paid, although most of the money – minus court fees and costs – is returned as long as the defendant shows up for all court hearings.
- Surety bond. If a defendant does not have enough cash, a surety bond is a popular option. The defendant, or a friend or relative, contacts a bail bond agent to arrange for a surety bond. The defendant, or co-signer, pays 10 percent of the amount of bail to the agent. If the defendant skips bail, the agent can then collect the entire amount and often will hire a bounty hunter to locate the defendant. Under the original bail agreement, the defendant is liable for all reasonable costs incurred by the bounty hunter.
- Property bond. In some cases, particularly when the bail amount is very high, a defendant will us real estate or other personal property to post bond. This option is time-consuming because ownership of the property, as well as an appraisal of its value, is required.
Most bail agencies in San Antonio will check the credit worthiness and financial information of any potential co-signers. All co-signers must be at least 18 years old and have an established connection to the area. In addition to paying 10 percent of the total amount or the bail, a co-signer may be required to put up collateral equal to the additional 90 percent.
Bond costs and options.
In Texas, there is no law that sets out the premium that bail bond companies can charge to clients. Many San Antonio bail bond companies will charge between 7 percent and 20 percent. Often, the higher percentage is charged for lower bail amounts. On average, a 10 percent nonrefundable premium is common. A defendant can avoid that charge by posting a cash bond, with or without the help of a co-signer.