WHAT TYPES OF BAIL BONDS ARE ALLOWED IN TRAVIS COUNTY?
An officer from the Travis County Pre-Trial Services Office will interview each inmate to determine whether they qualify for a personal bond. A personal bond is, in most cases, the most desirable type of bond an inmate can receive because they aren't required to deposit any money with Travis County. However, like both cash and surety bonds, a defendant is still liable for the full bond amount if the personal bond is revoked or forfeited.
Only Pre-Trial Services or your attorney can recommend a personal bond to a judge. Pre-Trial Services' criteria is quite strict and may include several conditions as a requisite for a personal bond. Often, Pre-Trial Services will not recommend a personal bond unless the inmate is represented by an attorney.
Importantly, even if Pre-Trial Services recommends against personal bond, an attorney can still present a personal bond to the Magistrate for consideration of release.
Attorneys who either work towards or obtain a personal bond on behalf of an inmate will typically charge a non-refundable fee for this service. Most attorneys, however, will apply that fee towards any fees associated with their representation of the inmate in the event an attorney-client relationship is established for that purpose.
When a bail bondsman is involved, it is called a surety bond. A surety bond means you pay the bail bondsman a percentage of the bond, usually 10 to 20 percent, and he or she submits the full bond amount. For example, if the Magistrate sets a $10,000 bond, a bail bondsman may charge between $1,000 and $2,000. The amount you pay the bondsman is a fee, meaning you do not get it back, and it is not applied to any attorney fees.
Usually, a bail bondsman will require a co-signer, who will be liable for the full amount of the bond if bail is revoked or forfeited. The co-signer may also be required to offer collateral, which might be for more than the amount of the bond.
A cash bond means simply paying the full amount of the bond with either cash, cashier's check or a money order. Travis County does not accept credit cards, personal checks or other forms of payment.
Cash bonds are often the most expensive option. Bonds can range up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Travis County will keep the bond until the case is resolved, which may be months or even years.