Bail bonds are common for people who have recently been arrested. It allows them to wait at home for their initial hearing and conviction, so they can keep working and maintaining their normal routine until a decision has been made by the court. Bail bonds get defendants temporarily out of custody as long as they abide by the conditions of their release.
However, there is still a possibility of jail time and there can be a length of time between convictions, sentencing, and potential appeals. This leads many to wonder if it is possible to be granted bail at this point in the process. Here is what you need to know about whether you can apply for bail after a conviction.
Things You Need to Know
Post-Conviction Bail Is Not a Constitutional Right
According to the Constitution, anyone accused of a crime is considered innocent until they have been proved guilty of the crime. During the time between arrest and conviction, most defendants have the right to pretrial bail. However, after they have been convicted of a crime, bail is no longer an option under the Constitution. Bail is not supported as a Constitutional right, but it is still possible depending on state and federal statutes. In these statutes, the decision lies in the hand of the judge.
How Texas Handles Bail with Pending Appeals
Bail laws are different from state to state, but if you are seeking a bail bond in Fort Worth or Tarrant County, here are the basics from the Texas Code of Criminal Procedures. According to Article 44.04 Bond Pending Appeal:
- Pending the determination of any motion for a new trial or the appeal from any misdemeanor conviction, the defendant is entitled to be released on reasonable bail.
- The defendant may not be released on bail pending the appeal from any felony conviction where the punishment equals or exceeds 10 years confinement.
- The courts can always deny bail if there is even the suspicion that the defendant won’t show up in court for their conviction.
How Do Judges Decide?
In most cases, judges will use the same criteria to determine bail during a post-conviction case as they would during pre-sentencing bail cases. Trial court judges have a lot of power when making these decisions which means they can be unpredictable. In any case, a judge’s decision-making process will almost always factor in two aspects: public safety and flight risk.
Judges who are asked to determine whether a defendant can get pre-sentence or post-conviction bail will be concerned about public safety. If the defendant is thought to be a risk to the community, this amount will be higher, or they will not be permitted to get bail. Factors that relate to public safety include the following:
- How serious the crime is, including whether the defendant harmed or threatened the victim or used a weapon, and whether drugs or alcohol played a role in the offense.
- The defendant\’s criminal history including their prior convictions, the number of convictions, and whether they were recent or remote.
Since judges are usually elected, they naturally fear negative publicity. It is important to many judges to consider the political consequences of their sentencing decisions, so if a defendant that they released after conviction runs away or commits a new crime, their job will be on the line. This added pressure might also influence judge decisions.
When determining bail amounts judges will evaluate whether a defendant is likely to make their future court appearances. If they have a reason to believe that the defendant might try to leave the area to avoid prosecution, they are considered a flight risk.
Some of the factors that are relevant to flight risk include the defendant\’s record of appearing in court in the past, their ties to the community, and the severity of the sentence. Defendants facing long prison terms rarely get post conviction bail because there is a higher risk that they will skip town to avoid the sentence awaiting them.
Judges Usually Set Higher Post-Conviction Bail
The average bail amount set by judges in pre-sentence applications is growing, and the same is true of post-conviction bail. The latter type of bail is usually a huge financial burden for the defendant and anyone helping them pay the amount. Even though you can access bail bonds, you still need collateral or a down payment to secure it.
Additionally, if your sentence is short and there is a low likelihood of a successful appeal you could be dragging out the situation. You may face strict limitations while on bail, but there is also a chance that you may need to return to custody. Depending on your situation it might unfortunately be less painful and expensive to serve the short term even if you are innocent.
At the same time, cases with minimal jail time and minor convictions are also situations where the judges are more likely to permit bail.
Visit PCS Bail Bonds and Avoid All Confusion
If you or someone you know needs help accessing post-conviction bail, our bail bondsmen in Tarrant County can help you figure out what your options are. The thought of putting up your home or valuables as collateral to pay the premium or the thought of spending even a short time in jail can be scary and stressful, so knowing your rights and options is more important than ever.
When you’re ready to contact a bail bondsman in Texas, give PCS Bail Bonds a call. We provide 24-hour bail bonds for all kinds of charges including theft, drug possession, embezzlement, assault, and more. If you’re wondering about what collateral to post for your bail bonds, we can help. Our experienced agents can help you obtain a bond in a fraction of the time it takes other agencies.
Contact us now by phone at 817-335-1655, at our e-mail, visit in-person, or fill out our bail bond request form. You can be confident that you’re working with experts who are dedicated to helping you.