Whenever I get a call from Del Valle Correctional Facility or Central Booking in Downtown Austin, the question is almost always the same: Can you get me out? The answer depends on a variety of factors, so beware the attorney that guarantees he or she can get you out on a PR bond. Even though it might be possible, there can always be complications that prevent release. Below, I’ll talk about the different ways to get released if you are stuck in jail.
Personal Recognizance (PR) Bond
Ideally, you will qualify for a PR Bond. A PR bond can be presented either by Pretrial Services or by a defense attorney to a judge who can grant your release. With a PR bond, there is no need to go through a bondsman and put up any surety.
You might have been told by Pretrial Services that your PR bond was rejected. This does not necessarily mean that an attorney will not be able to procure a PR bond for you. The reasons for rejection can be the severity of the offense or criminal history, but can sometimes be just because they were not able to reach your references. Even on somewhat severe crimes, an attorney can present you in the best possible light to the judge. Also, if you have already hired an attorney, a judge may believe you are more likely to be reliable in coming to all your court dates. If you have been rejected by Pretrial Services, it is still a good idea to consult with an attorney.
Once your bond is set, you can pay a cash bond to the court at the amount a judge has set. Once the case is over, you will receive this amount back minus a small fee. If you cannot afford a cash bond, you can look into a bail bondsman
With a bail bond, you pay a fee to a bondsman (usually about 10%). The bondsman then puts up the full bond for your release. You do not receive any of these funds back at the conclusion of your case.
There are issues to consider when getting a bail bond. First, you will need a co-signer. This should be someone without a serious criminal history and good credit. Second, you may be required to check in with your bail bondsman. Third, a bondsman can “come off” your bond, meaning they can withdraw their bond and a warrant will be issued. They will often do this if you get a new charge or fail to make one of your court dates. Bail bonds are not the ideal solution, but can be an option if you have the cash and are not eligible for a PR Bond.
Conclude the Case
In rare circumstances, it can be a good idea to plea or otherwise conclude your court case in a manner that will allow for release. This can mean a plea deal for “time served”, probation, deferred adjudication, or a straight dismissal. When getting released in this way, it is vital to consider the long-term consequences of a plea. For example if you can be released on probation but will take a felony conviction, you might face consequences for the rest of your life. It might not be worth it. However, in certain cases, it is a good idea to simply work toward the conclusion of a case, rather than spending time on bond issues that are likely to fail or cost a lot of money.
If a friend or loved one is stuck in jail or Del Valle Correctional, call 512-677-5003 for a free consultation.