The purpose of bail is to ensure that you attend all of your hearings, throughout the duration of your trial. Bail provides a defendant with conditional liberties under the assumption that they aren’t a threat to anyone.
The judge presiding over your hearing uses the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure to determine if you qualify for bail. The code limits which kinds of indicted felonies qualify for bail releases. The Texas Criminal code grants the court the authority to impose a reasonable bond amount. That amount must reflect the severity of the crime and the defendant’s criminal history.
A judge will determine the amount of bail required for your conditional release. The judge makes their decision based on the severity of the alleged offense. A felony accusation will typically result in a larger bail amount than a misdemeanor would. Capital offenses are not entitled to a bail hearing at all, especially if the defendant is charged with:
- A felony and has already been convicted of two prior felonies
- Committing a felony with a deadly weapon, and has been convicted of a prior felony
- A felony while on bail for another indicted felony
- Murder, various aggravated crimes, or indecency with a child while on felony probation
Additionally, a judge will assess any conditions that are specific to your case, such as your employment history. You will need to declare any properties that you own, your employment status, schedule, and previous work history. The judge may also inquire about your living situation, existing warrants, personal assets, and history of drug or alcohol abuse.
The court must ensure that the defendant isn’t a danger to the community, and will do no harm upon their release. This also helps determine if the defendant will have a support system to keep them out of legal trouble.
As always, you have the right to representation at your bail hearing. A prosecutor will recommend a bail amount to the judge. Then, you or your attorney may counter, before the judge makes their final decision.
If you are unable to post the recommended bail amount, your attorney can request a formal reduction. The judge can then grant or deny a reduction, and may impose additional restrictions, conditions, and orders.
The court isn’t very flexible with defendants who violate their bail conditions. If the defendant violates the conditions of their release they’ll be re-arrested and lose the money they posted for bail.
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