If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with a crime, the next step in the process may be a bail hearing. This can happen more quickly than most think, which is why it’s important to retain legal counsel as soon as possible.
Once you’ve hired an attorney, however, this legal professional may be able to help you reduce the amount you’re held on bond so you (or your loved one) don’t have to spend unnecessary time behind bars.
How Is Bail Set in Texas?
Once you are arrested for a crime, a magistrate will typically determine your bail within the next 48 hours (we said this process can be quick!). In some cases, there are standard bond rates associated with certain classes of crimes (e.g. Class A Misdemeanors) or even specific types of offenses (e.g. theft, violent crime, sex crimes, etc.).
In a lot of cases, though, the amount of bail is up to the discretion of the magistrate. This becomes a problem when the magistrate assigns an exorbitant or disproportionately high amount of bail relative to the defendant’s situation.
A few of the factors that go into a bond determination include the following:
- Nature and circumstances of the charged offense(s)
- Potential penalties if convicted
- Defendant’s criminal record
- Defendant’s family and ties to their community
- Employment history, length of residency, reputation in the community
- History of mental illness
- History of substance abuse
- Flight risk
- Whether or not on bail for a separate criminal charge
You Are Protected against Excessive Bail
Even if you think your situation looks bad, it’s very possible that the amount of bail set for you is far too high. The U.S. Constitution protects U.S. citizens against excessive bail in the Bill of Rights, which means that an attorney can help you fight to reduce your bail if you are being unfairly and unreasonably treated by the system.
How Do I Get My Bail Lowered?
If you believe your bail is set too high, your attorney can petition for a bail reduction. A hearing will be scheduled, during which your attorney will remind the court of the unconstitutionality of excessive bail and explain why the bail set for you rises to this level. Keep in mind that as with all legal matters, success isn’t guaranteed.
How Much Can I Reduce My Bail?
There is no real number or percentage we can quote when it comes to how much someone can reduce their bail. This is because each person’s situation is unique to their charges, the circumstances of those charges, and many of the factors we listed above.
That said, the goal of bail is to ensure that someone will return to court for their trial. Sometimes the bail set for a defendant is unreasonably high proportional to the circumstances of their case, which means that amount should be reduced to a less oppressive level.
Call Our Law Firm for Help
The Law Office of Rene A. Flores PLLC is a criminal defense firm that can assist defendants during bond hearings and more. If you or someone you love is charged with a crime, reach out to us for help with reducing their bail.