If a friend or family member is arrested and taken into custody, are you familiar with what happens during the bail hearing? If the accused isn’t released, they will be taken to court where a judge will decide whether or not to release them. Understanding what goes on during this bail hearing process can help the family of the accused make sense of the proceedings and provide them with a clear idea of where the defendant will spend their time during the trial.
Bail approval depends on a number of factors, including the actual crime, the defendant’s criminal history, whether they’re a flight risk, and their family ties.
Bail Hearings 101: Setting Bail
A bail hearing is set on a predetermined schedule. That means there’s no preference as to who gets a hearing first—it all depends on the date that the defendant was arrested. When first appearing in front of the judge, the prosecutor and the defense lawyer will informally make points over why the defendant should or shouldn’t receive bail and over the bail bond amount.
Bail bond amounts in Fort Worth, Texas are somewhat preset with a minimum and maximum amount determined based on the class (and the severity) of the crime committed. The exact bail bond amount, however, is subject to the judge’s discretion. The judge can set bail anywhere between the minimum to the maximum allowable amount for the particular crime of which the defendant is accused.
The judge weighs the initial arguments then determines if the defendant is a threat to the community, whether or not they will uphold their duties and attend future court proceedings, and whether or not the defendant will illegally flee the state to escape being prosecuted.
Since the judge isn’t actually taking evidence, the strength of the case is a major consideration in the bail hearing procedure. If the evidence appears to be overwhelming, and if the defendant is a repeat offender, the judge may be more inclined to refuse bail and confine the defendant behind bars until the trial is over.
Once a bail amount is set, a friend or family member has the option of paying the accused’s bond. The accused also has the option of turning to a bail bonds agent to leverage the funds in exchange for collateral and a percentage to be paid up front. The defendant will then be free to leave jail under the condition that they attend all future court hearings for their impending trial.
Depending on the amount of the bail, collateral can be any significant asset, including a home. If the defendant does not uphold their end of the agreement, then the collateral can be taken away. If the individual putting up the collateral believes that the defendant will not keep their word, or has re-offended, they can notify the bondsman who can then remove the bond without penalty upon the defendant’s arrest.
PCS Bail Bonds has been providing bail bonds services and educating individuals on the bail hearing process in Fort Worth, Texas for over 25 years. Contact PCS Bail Bonds if you need more information on bail hearings or are in need of a bail bonds service in Fort Worth, Texas and we’ll help you review your options.