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The basics of bail

When an individual is taken into custody, that person may be given a citation and a promise to appear in court. However, a Texas resident may also be taken to jail after being taken into custody, and at that point, it may be necessary to bail out. A judge will determine if a person is eligible for bail and how much a person needs to pay to buy his or her freedom.

Bail may be paid by cash or another accepted cash substitute. There are a number of factors that determine whether or not a person is eligible for bail or how much a person must pay. Those who are considered a threat to society may be denied the chance to bail out of jail or may have conditions placed on their bail. If a defendant cannot personally pay his or her bail, a bail bondsman may be willing to do so.

A bail bond is usually 10 to 20 percent of the total bail amount. In exchange for the ability to post bail, a defendant promises to appear at all scheduled court dates. Failure to do so could result in a fine, jail time or both. However, penalties may be waived if failure to appear in court was the result of an uncontrollable circumstance.

Convictions on a criminal charge could result in jail or prison time in addition to other penalties. An attorney may be able to cast doubt on the charge in an effort to obtain a plea deal or an acquittal. Defenses to a criminal charge may include asserting that a person never intended to commit a crime or that he or she was entrapped by authorities. An attorney may also argue that a search warrant used to obtain evidence was issued improperly.

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