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How Bail Works in Harris County, Texas
Harris County, Texas offers bail to some defendants that have been arrested for some crimes. When a defendant is arrested, the defendant will be taken to the Harris County jail for booking and holding. From there, some defendants will be able to get out of jail on bail as they await the completion of their trial. Other defendants may be able to get out of jail on their own recogniscence. Still other defendants will not be able to get out of jail on bail at all.
If a defendant is given the opportunity to get out of jail on bail, the Harris County courts are, basically, saying that they expect the defendants to return to court in order to complete their legal obligation. As soon as the defendant completes the legal obligation, he or she will receive a refund of the bail amount, less any administrative fees.
However, in many cases, defendants will not be able to afford bail on their own, as bail can be several thousand dollars. In such situations, the defendant can call upon a bail bonding agency for help paying bail. A bail bonding agency will give the courts the full amount of money that is necessary to get the defendant out of jail on bail in exchange for a down payment from the defendant. The down payment is usually about ten percent of the total cost of the bail and can be paid by credit card, check, money order, loved ones, and even collateral.
When a defendant completes his or her legal obligation, the bail bond will be released to the bail bonding agency that paid for it. However, if the defendant fails to complete the legal obligation by failing to attend a trial, the defendant becomes a fugitive.
When a defendant is a fugitive, the bail bonding agency will usually use a bounty hunter to track him or her down in order to return the defendant to jail. If the defendant has a history of becoming a fugitive, he or she will not receive the bail option again. Also, if a bail bonding agency needs to track a defendant down, the agency will most likely seize collateral and other assets owned by the defendant, such as a car or a home.