There are various types of bail bonds available for someone seeking bail in San Antonio. Some require the full funds up front, some require a percentage of the funds, and some bail bonds can be completely free. The following is a list of the most common types of bail bonds and other terms associated with the bail process:
Cash bail means that the accused pays the full amount of bail in cash. Sometimes the court accepts checks or even credit cards.
An immigration bond permits release when an undocumented alien, visa holder or permanent resident (e.g., green card holder) is taken into custody by immigration authorities. The bail bond is handled by the federal bureau for Immigration and Customs Enforcement or the Department of Homeland Security, not local or state authorities.
Also called a bail bond, a surety bond can be used for any amount of bail, but it is especially useful when the accused can’t afford to pay his or her bail. This type of bail often involves a friend or relative of the accused contacting a bail agent, also known as a bail bondsman.
A San Antonio Bail Agent is backed by a special type of insurance company called a surety company and pledges to pay the full value of the bond if the accused doesn’t appear in court. In return, the bail agent charges the client a 10 percent premium and collects some sort of collateral to help guarantee the bond (a title to a house, car or boat, or jewelry or electronics).
With the involvement of friends or relatives, the defendant should be compelled to appear in court. In many cases, it’s the friend or relative who is probably paying the bail agent’s premium and it’s their collateral on the line.
The San Antonio TX bail agent’s bond is also at stake, and if the defendant doesn’t appear in court (known as skipping or jumping bail), then it will be the agent who is responsible for paying the entire bail bond.
Release on Citation
In some cases, an officer will not book a suspect at all but will issue a citation instead that dictates the accused must appear in a San Antonio court of law. While this process is less thorough than taking a suspect to a police station and performing the formal booking procedure, it allows the arresting officer to focus on catching more serious offenders.
Release on Own Personal Recognizance
A judge may also choose to release a suspect on his own recognizance, meaning that he is responsible for showing up for court dates and does not have to pay bail. Personal recognizance is usually only allowed when the charge involves a relatively minor, nonviolent crime, and if the defendant is not considered a danger to anyone else or a flight risk. A flight risk means that it’s highly likely that the person will flee instead of going to his or her court date.
Sometimes a defendant can provide some property to act as a bond. In these cases, the court gets a lien (essentially a legal claim) on the property in the amount of the bail. If the defendant doesn’t show up for his court appearances, the court can foreclose on the property to recover the forfeited bail.
Because bondsmen are liable for the bail bond amount, and the police can’t always locate the defendant, bondsmen sometimes hire a professional bounty hunter (if it is legal in their state). A bounty hunter, or bail enforcement agent, as they are formally called, are responsible for tracking down “skips.” The bounty hunter tracks down the bail jumper, arrests him, and collects a fee of 10 to 20 percent of the bail bond.
For further, in-depth explanation of the San Antonio bail bond process, please call Law Offices of Jesus R. Lopez and his staff at 210-224-5245.