I have been arrested. How does bail work and how do I make bond?
In state court, a person is entitled to have bail set in all cases except for capital murder cases. In federal court, prosecutors must prove a person is a danger to the community or not likely to show up to court appearances before bail can be denied. Often, in federal court, a person may be released on their “own recognizance” without the need for bail.
If bail has been set, you can post the bail in one of two ways. The first way is that you or a family member can post the full bail amount. The advantage of doing it this way is that, assuming you show up to your court appearances and abide by the bail conditions, you or your family member will get that money back once your case is finished.
The second way, if you cannot afford to post the full amount, is that you can go through a bail bondsman. Bail bondsmen, however, charge a fee (usually between 10 percent and 20 percent of the bail amount) and you do not receive that money back at the end of the case. Bail bondsmen also may ask you to post collateral. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to put you in touch with an honest, reputable bail bondsman. And often, if you are referred by an attorney, you will pay a lower percentage fee and have less stringent collateral requirements. If you are arrested in one of the smaller municipalities in Dallas County, it is sometimes necessary to hire an attorney in order to get a bond set the night of the arrest.
There is one thing about which you must also be aware. In state court in Dallas County, if you have a court appointed attorney and are able to make bond, the judge may then require you to hire your own attorney. If you truly cannot afford an attorney, some judges will eventually appoint you an attorney if you arrive at court without an attorney and prove to the Court that you are, in fact, unable to hire one.