No one ever expects to be arrested. If you or a loved one has been arrested in Travis County for the first time, you may be confused as to how the process works. I’ve listed answers to some common questions below. If you do know someone who was arrested in Travis and have immediate questions, you can call for a jail release 24/7. 512-677-5003
Q. How long will I be in jail?
A. This depends on a lot of factors, but if you’ve been arrested over night, you will probably be in jail at least until the judge performs magistration the next morning and Pre-trial Services opens at 8:00 AM. Processing will take a few additional hours, so you’re looking at noon at the earliest. An attorney can waive formal magistration, and save you hours – critically important if you need to make it to work or an appointment the next day.
Q. What’s the difference between a Cash Bond, a Surety Bond, and a Personal Bond?
A. A bond is an amount of money designed to provide an incentive for a defendant to make his/her court dates. The judge sets this bond after you are arrested. Let’s take a hypothetical situation where bond is set at $5,000.
You can get released by posting a Cash Bond – the full $5,000. You would receive this money back at the end of your case (minus a fee), if you don’t miss any court dates or don’t comply with conditions of release.
You can also get released by paying a bail bondsman to post a Surety Bond. This usually costs 10-20% of the bond, and you will NOT receive that money back at the end of trial. If you miss any court dates, you are responsible to the bondsman for the full amount of the bond.
The last type of bond – a Personal Recognizance Bond (or PR bond), is usually preferred. With a PR Bond, no money is due up front, except for a small PR fee, and you will only owe more if you miss court dates or don’t comply with conditions of release. In some cases, pre-trial services will recommend that a PR bond be given, but often there is a snag, and they will recommend against. In these cases, an attorney can plead your case to the judge and get him or her to allow a PR bond.
Q. I haven’t been convicted. Why do I have conditions of release?
Judges are allowed to place conditions of bond to ensure that you attend court and for the safety of the community. Common examples of conditions include an Ignition Interlock Device for someone charged with a DWI, or a stay-away order (similar to a restraining order) for someone charged with assault. Another area where it pays to have a criminal attorney on your side is to reduce or in some cases eliminate annoying conditions.
Q. Why should I hire an attorney instead of a bondsman?
If you hire me for your jail release, I will apply whatever you pay toward your legal fees. I can also waive magistration to get you released sooner. Also, my fees are in line with – and sometimes less than – a Bail Bondsman.
If your question wasn’t answered above and you need immediate help, call Rob Chesnutt, an experienced Travis County jail release attorney 24/7. 512-677-5003.