Jail Release Procedure
### How Bail Is Set
After booking the defendant, the arresting officer files a probable cause affidavit with the court. This is basically the police officer?s short version of what the allegations against the defendant are. The judge reads this report, and checks the defendant?s criminal history. At that point, the judge sets a bail amount. The seriousness of the allegations and the length of the defendant?s prior arrest history are probably the 2 most important factors in determining the amount of bail set by the judge.
For misdemeanors in Travis County, bail is often set as low as $500 for hot check cases, and as high as $10,000 or more for family violence assaults. Most first time DWI bail amounts will be between $1500 and $3000, if the defendant has no prior arrests. There is no set schedule for this though; so the amount may be higher depending on the judge that initially reviews the case.
In Travis County, judges are available to set the bail amount between approximately 7 A.M. and 1:00 A.M. People who are arrested after 1:00 A.M. (like most DWIs, for example) will not have a bail amount set until sometime in the morning ? or even the next afternoon.
IN TRAVIS COUNTY THERE IS A WAY AN ATTORNEY CAN ARRANGE FOR A PERSON TO BE RELEASED FROM JAIL SO THAT THEY DON’T HAVE TO SPEND THE NIGHT IN JAIL. THAT IS CALLED A HOBBY RELEASE.
IF YOU ARE SEEKING TO HELP A FRIEND OR LOVED ONE GET OUT OF JAIL DURING THE NIGHT OF HIS ARREST, PLEASE SEE OUR [HOBBY RELEASE](/dwi-facts/get-out-of-jail) INFORMATION FOR IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE. OR CALL 866 469-6056.
Once a bond amount has been set, there are four ways to be released from jail. These are Cash Bonds, Personal Bonds, Lawyer Assisted Bonds and Surety Bonds.
### Cash Bonds
This is simply a matter of depositing with the jail the full amount of the bond. Travis County Jail will only accept cashier?s checks or money orders in the amount of the bail (not cash).
There are a couple reasons why this is often not the best option for someone trying to be released from jail. First, since bond is usually set in the thousands, rather than hundreds of dollars, many people will find they can not come up with the funds as quickly as their friend or loved one needs to get out of jail. Secondly, the money will be tied up until the case is resolved ? which could be a year or even longer. This is generally not a good use of cash funds.
### Personal Bonds
Sometime after the arrest, the Travis County PreTrial Services Office will interview an arrestee, to see whether they qualify for a personal bond. If they do qualify, the person will only be required to pay a $20 PR Bond fee to the office.
This is the cheapest way to get out of jail. However, it too is often not the best option for the recently arrested person.
First, if a person is arrested in the middle of the night (say 2:00 A.M. for a DWI), the judge will not see them to set a bond until sometime much closer to noon ? or even afternoon. Secondly, depending on the number of people arrested, it can take the PreTrial Services Office more than 12 hours to approve a bond for any particular individual. It is not unusual for someone arrested for DWI at 2:00 A.M. to be released on Personal Bond sometime between 2 and 6 P.M. Most of my clients want to be released much sooner than that, if at all possible. Third, there is a very strict criteria that the Pretrial Service Office uses to determine if a person is eligible for a personal bond. Very often, a person will not be approved for a Personal Bond unless an attorney is retained.
### Lawyer Assisted Bonds
There are several ways that I as a lawyer can help you get out of jail. Again, if you are seeking to get someone out of the Travis County Jail during the night please click this link. ([HOBBY RELEASE](/dwi-facts/get-out-of-jail))
First, I am often able to speed up the Personal Bond Process. Even if PreTrial Services wouldn’t have turned in a bond until sometime in the afternoon, I am usually able to speed that process up and get it turned in sometime shortly after 8 A.M. This can save the client many unpleasant hours in jail.
Second, if the client was not going to qualify for a personal bond, I can often get a percentage cash deposit bond approved. In most cases, this money can be applied towards the fee I charge to represent the person in court.
Third, if the person is arrested and booked, but has not seen the judge to have a bond amount set, in Travis County, only a lawyer can get him out in the middle of the night. This is called a HOBBY RELEASE. There are several conditions that must be met for a person to be eligible for a Travis County hobby release.
Because my business is primarily DWIs, I have attorneys available all hours of the day and night to help get recently arrested people out of jail. Please call 866 469-6056 to speak with an attorney that can help you now.
### Surety or Bail Bonds
Finally, in some cases it is necessary for someone to hire a bail bond company to guarantee the amount of the bond. Bail bond companies typically charge at least 15-20% of the bond amount to get someone out of jail. In some cases, of course, it is more.
The money used to pay a bondsman can never be applied to the attorney’s fees in a case.
As you can see, there are a number of ways we can help you secure the release from jail of your friend or love one. My phones are answered 24/7. If you are not sure if we can help you, please call me and explain the situation. Odds are we can help you. If not, we can point you in the right direction.