How do Bail Bonds work at Harris County Juvenile Justice Center
What is Bail?
Bail is the temporary release of an accused person awaiting trial on condition that a sum of cash money be lodged to guarantee their appearance in Harris County Court in Baytown, Texas.
Once the defendant is booked and filed for arrest, a custody and bail hearing will be scheduled, usually within 48 hours.
At the hearing the judge may issue a bail amount. This bail or bond is a refundable sum of cash money paid to the court to provide incentive for the defendant to attend all scheduled court hearings.
Instructions on how to post Bail or Bond in Harris County
Because Harris County and Texas can change their bail bond procedures, it is always best to call either the jail or the court directly after an arrestee has been booked. Go directly to the Harris County Jail and Court pages here to find the phone number you need for this information.
Ask the jail or court representative these specific questions:
If you feel the bail is too high and you wish to get it reduced, contact a lawyer or the defendant's public defender and get them to look into what they can do to get a bail reduction.
Option 1 - How to Post Bail using Cash for a Defendant at Harris County Juvenile Justice Center
The first option, a cash bond, is to pay the full bail amount in cash, cashier's check, or money order. Personal Checks are not accepted.
Depending on the crime, this amount could be anywhere from $100 to $75,000 or more.
To pay a cash bond, go to Harris County Juvenile Justice Center or to the court where the bail hearing occurred. Going directly to the jail will quicken the release of the defendant as any bail paperwork processed at the court will have to be transferred to the jail.
Cashier's Checks and Money Orders may be made out to Harris County Juvenile Justice Center where the defendant is being held, but usually to the Harris County Sheriff's Office or to the Harris County Court.
Option 2 - How to Post a Private or Surety Bond for a Defendant at Harris County Juvenile Justice Center
In the event that someone does not have the full bond amount available to him or her, there is what is called a private bond or surety bond.
This is an agreement made with a bail agent or bondsman who will post the full bail amount. In return, the defendant and/or cosigner will pay a premium to the bail agent. This premium will be 10-15% of the full bail amount.
For example, if bail is posted at $5,000, then the premium will cost approximately $500-$750.
A bail agent will often require some form of collateral, for example, a lien on a house, a car or jewelry. This is to ensure that if the defendant skips bail, or does not appear in court, the bail agent has some sort of compensation for the full bail amount being paid.
Remember, by making an agreement with a bail agent the signatory takes responsibility for paying the full bail amount if the defendant does not appear in court.
Option 3 - How to Post a Property Bond for a Defendant at Harris County Juvenile Justice Center
If you are a landowner in Harris County you may be able to post a property bond. Property within Harris County may be used as collateral to bail someone out. All owners of the property must be present to sign the bond in order for this to happen.
To find if property located outside of Harris County can be used as collateral, call a local bail or bond agent or contact a defense lawyer.
Click here for additional information on how to post bail at Harris County Juvenile Justice Center.
Who can post Bail or Bond for a Defendant at Harris County Juvenile Justice Center?
Anyone over the age of 18 who can produce a valid government-issued photo ID can post bail. Accepted forms of ID include a Photo Driver's License, Passport, or Motor Vehicle issued ID.
In many circumstances, if the defendant has the resources, they can post their own cash bail from jail.
Surety Bonds are arranged by a third party, typically a Texas state licensed Bail Bond firm.
Juveniles may only be bailed or bonded out of custody by a parent or legal guardian.
How are Bail or Bond Amounts decided in the city of Baytown, in Harris County, state of Texas
As a general rule, a judge will most likely set a higher bail or bond for more serious crimes and a lower amount for less serious crimes. Other factors may include, but are not limited to:
When will the Cash Bail or Collateral be returned to me?
Money or collateral will not be returned until the defendant's court case is finished, so realistically it could take several months to years, depending on the severity of the charges. If a defendant posts his or her own bail, Harris County Court may retain whatever amount of fines or fees have accumulated throughout the trial.
What happens to my Bail or Collateral if the Defendant misses Court?
The Judge may order a failure to appear warrant for the person's arrest or the Judge may order a Bail Commissioner's Letter be issued that will be sent to the person with a new court date.
If cash bail was paid, the entire amount may be forfeited.