My friend or relative was just arrested, what can I do?

Whenever someone is arrested they must have a bond set before they can be released. In most cases the defendant will have to go before a magistrate judge who will set the bond amount. There is a magistrate judge at the jail everyday including weekends and holidays. In some cases, as with a warrant, the bond amount has already been set and the inmate can be released without seeing the magistrate.

What is a Bond?

A bond is the amount of money set by a judge for releasing a defendant, a person charged with a crime, from jail while the defendant is making his/her court appearances. A bail bond is an agreement between a court and a bail bond company for the defendant to appear as required in court. There are three types of bonds available to defendants held in Travis County Jail; Surety, Cash and Personal.

What is a Surety Bond?

A Surety Bond is a bond posted by a bail bondsman, such as ATX Bail Bonds. A surety bond can easily be compared to a loan from a bank which is taken out by the defendant and a cosigner (see below) where the interest/percentage or fee is paid to the bail bondsman for the jail release. As long as the defendant makes all of his/her court appearances, the full bond amount does not have to be paid. If the defendant fails to appear in court or forfeits the bond, both the defendant and cosigner are responsible for paying any cost back to the bondsman, such as court costs, recovery costs or the full bond amount.

What is a Cash Bond?

A Cash Bond is the exact amount a defendant must pay before being released from jail. The exact amount must be paid in full to the jail before the defendant will be released. These can be paid at both the Travis County Jail and Travis County Correctional Complex in cash or by money order. See Links for locations. It is important to remember that the money paid for a cash bond is returned to the defendant, regardless of who paid the bond, after the defendant completes going to court. Fees may be taken out the money deposited for the cash bond to cover such things as court costs or fines. If the defendant fails to appear in court, the money posted for a cash bond can be forfeited to the county.

What is a Personal Bond?

A Personal Bond is a bond issued from the county for a fee through Pretrial Services that the defendant will return to court as ordered and follow ALL conditions placed on his/her release. These conditions often include classes that the defendant is required to PAY for regardless of guilt or innocence. A defendant cannot post a personal bond by themselves, only a Judge can approve release on a personal bond.

What is a Cosigner?

The Cosigner is the person taking financial responsibility for the defendant released from jail and can be held liable if the defendant does not appear for court dates. The Cosigner can be held liable for repaying any court costs, recovery costs or bond costs back to the bondsman. The agreement the Cosigner signs with the bail bond company is a civil contract and has no criminal liability at all but can subject them to being sued in a civil court.

Do I get the money I paid to a bail bond company refunded after the defendant appears in court?

No, the money paid to a bail bondsman for the release of a defendant is non-refundable. The only exception is when collateral is put up with the bail bond company in addition to the fee paid for the release. The collateral will be returned when the defendant has finished going to court and has received a disposition.

How long does it take for a defendant to be released from jail?

Normally it takes between two to four hours for a defendant to be released from jail, depending on how quickly the jail can process them out. They begin processing the defendant once the bond has been posted by the bail bondsman with the jail.

When can a defendant be released from jail?

A defendant can be released from Travis County Jail 24 hours a day. If the defendant is released from Travis County Correctional Complex after 10 PM, a friend or relative will have to be there to pick the person up or they will not be released until the morning.

My car was towed, where did they take it?

The most common place cars are towed to in Travis County following an arrest is Southside Storage, address and phone number below. The Travis County Jail has the towing information for each inmate and can tell you the location of the car if it was towed somewhere else or confirm that it was towed to Southside Storage.

Southside Storage

8200 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78745-7306

As of January 28, 2010 current fees are as follows:  (fees subject to change)

Initial Towing 1st Day :  $171.65

Storage Per Day :  $21.65

Upon the 2nd Midnight:  $72.00 added fee ($50 letter to the owner & $22 storage fee)