A bond is a type of security that a defendant provides to the court to ensure he/she will appear in court or trial to answer any charges that have been leveled against them.
There are three types of bonds in Texas:
- Surety (commonly referred to as a Bail Bond)
- Personal Recognizance (commonly referred to as a P.R. bond)
Explanation of these bonds are below:
Cash – a cash bond is a payment for the full amount of the bond posted in cash, cashier’s check or money order. There is one advantage to posting bail in cash – once the trial has been completed and the defendant has appeared in court as required, the entire amount of the cash bond will be returned to the person that posted it, although it could take several weeks before the money is actually received. There are also disadvantages to paying a cash bond:
- If the defendant does not appear in court as scheduled; a portion or even all of the cash bond could be forfeited – meaning the person who put up the cash bond could lose all or a part of their money.
- Depending on the amount posted, if it is large enough it could bring unexpected attention from law enforcement agencies. There could be inquiries as to where the cash came from or how it was acquired. As long as the money was acquired legally, there should be no problems.
- The money posted for a cash bond will be tied up until the case is completed, which could include several court appearances spread over an undetermined length of time.
Surety – what most people commonly refer to as a Bail Bond – is a bond posted through Dallas Bail Bonds companies such as Southern Bail Bonds that charge a fee, usually ten percent or so of the total bond, for their services. Once the bail bond has been posted, the defendant is released from jail and will be notified of their court date when it is set some time in the future. Occasionally a defendant will receive a court date before being released, but this does not happen often. Most of the time, the court date will be set weeks after the defendant has been released. Surety bail bonds are the most common types of bail bonds used in Dallas County.
Personal Recognizance – commonly referred to as PR bonds – are bonds where the defendant is released from custody based on their own promise to appear in court as required. The defendant isn’t charged anything, their promise (or their word) to appear is their bond. Personal Recognizance bonds do happen in Dallas County, but they are not common. In order to receive a PR bond, the judge has to have confidence that the defendant will take the responsibility to appear for all scheduled court proceedings.
When deciding to release someone on a Dallas County PR bond, the judge will take several things into consideration, some of which are the defendant’s prior record (if they have one), the seriousness of the crime thats being charged, any danger the defendant may pose to the general public, community ties, employment, and family connections.
The terms of release for a Dallas PR bond can also include some type of supervision from the court, such as periodic reporting to an officer, restricted travel or protective (stay-away) orders.
Once the defendant has been released on a PR bond, they must follow through with every promise made to the court prior to their release. The defendant will be required to sign a written document from the court stating all of their promises.
If the defendant fails to appear at any of their court proceedings, or not follow through with their promises to the court, the defendant will be subject to immediate arrest. Additionally, the judge could specify that the defendant is no longer allowed to post any type of bail.
Author: Patrick Hill