Galveston Bail Bonds
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The concept behind bail seems fairly simple — an individual who’s suspected of a crime pays money to a court to stay out of prison as they await trial. In practice, however, the picture is often more complicated. When the bail amount is too large or out of one’s range, they’re often left with no option but to stay in jail. That is, unless one takes out a bail bond.
What Exactly is a Bail Bond?
A bail bond is a contract between an individual facing court charges (defendant) and a bail agent. Essentially, the former approaches the latter to help them secure their release from prison by posting bail. For their troubles, the bail agent receives a fee amounting to 10 percent of the bail amount.
The 3 most common types of bail bond include:
-Cash bail: This involves posting the full amount of the bond in cash. The funds remain tied up until the case is completed.
-Surety: This refers to a bond posted through a bail bond company.
-Property bond: Courts allow defendants to use personal property or land as collateral. In either case, the assets have to be appraised before they can be accepted — this takes a lot of time.
The Bail Bond Process
This is best understood when viewed from a defendant’s perspective. Upon their arrest anywhere within the county, the person is usually processed at Galveston County Jail (more on that shortly). This is then followed by a court hearing where a judge decides if they’ll be held until their trial or freed on bail.
This is where a bail bond comes into the picture — if the defendant cannot gather enough funds to bail him/herself out, a bail bondsman can make all the difference. Specifically, they will post the former’s bail amount and charge 10-15% of the total amount. It is worth highlighting that this fee is not refundable. Other than that, it’s standard for bondsmen to attach certain terms to the contract — after all, they stand to lose money if their client flees or violates the conditions of their release. If things go according to plan, though, the bail bondsman gets their money back after court proceedings are over.
Galveston Bail Schedule
Texas is unlike other states when it comes to bail schedules (i.e. the structure that specifies bail amounts for each crime). Rather than have one schedule for all counties, Texas allows each of them to create its own. So take a look at the amounts that apply to various offences in Galveston:
-Class C misdemeanor: This category includes traffic citations, public intoxication, gambling, plus other ‘minor’ violations. Bail is capped at $500.
-Class B misdemeanor: This covers DUI offences, criminal trespass and evasion of arrest. Bail is usually set at $1000.
-Class A misdemeanor: Offenses that fall in this category include unlawful possession of weapons and burglary. Bail can range from $1000 to a maximum of $5000.
-State jail felony: This can be defined as a state crime whose sentence ranges from 180 days to two years. Offences include check and credit card forgery, as well as DUI with a child on board. Depending on the defendant’s perceived flight risk, courts can set bail between $1000 and $15,000.
-Second degree felony: Sexual assault, human trafficking, bribery and robbery are just but a few of the crimes that fall under this category. Bail here is capped at thirty thousand dollars.
-First degree felony: As the name suggests, this category includes some of the most serious crimes that one could commit (or be accused of, rather). Such include human trafficking, attempted capital murder and aggravated robbery. The price for bail ranges between $30,000 and $50,000.
It is worth noting that the bail schedule affords judges the latitude to increase or decrease bail in certain circumstances. The defendant’s record plays a huge role in that regard.
Why choose Bluestar Bail Bonds?
Seeing a friend or loved one get arrested and locked up can be stressful, more so if you have no previous experience with the criminal justice system. You immediately start wondering what you could do to rescue them, and how much worse it could’ve been if you were the victim. Should you ever find yourself facing such a nightmare, there are several reasons why you will want to work with Bluestar Bail Bonds:
-Our peers have rated us as the number one bail bond agency countrywide.
-We have 20 years worth of experience under our belt: You’ll be hard pressed to find a company with a longer track record.
-Our offices are strategically located at 605 S 4th St. More importantly, our agents are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
-Expediency: Our team works to handle the bail bond process as fast as the law allows.
-We offer a variety of payment plans: There’s no need to worry if you don’t have the bail money at the moment — our team will be more than happy to work out a financing arrangement.
Key Courthouses in Galveston
The Texas judicial system is comprised of 3 tiers: district court, county court and municipal court. Because Galveston has courtrooms for all of them, it helps to know which one is appropriate for a particular legal matter. So let’s examine them in descending order:
-District: Galveston has 6 district courts in total, all of which share the same location (the County Justice Center at 600 59th Street). These courts focus largely on felony cases, but one is designated to family matters.
-County: Located in the same building as the above , Galveston’s county courts at law hold jurisdiction over misdemeanors, primarily Class A and Class B. In layman’s terms, these are misdemeanors whose sentence doesn’t exceed 2 years.
-Municipal: Located at 601 54th St., these handle traffic matters and ordinance violations.
Galveston also has a courthouse for the Southern District of Texas. Housed in the same building as the local Post Office, this holds jurisdiction over matters of federal law.
Galveston Prison Facilities
Galveston only has one incarceration facility, specifically the County Jail located at 5700 Ball Street. This is where people are booked and confined once they’re arrested. If you need to find someone here, just use the ‘Inmate Inquiry’ feature on the county’s website.
It’s worth keeping in mind that while Galveston bail bonds can be posted at the jail 24/7, court hearings are subject to operating hours. As such, you can’t really tell when someone will be released. While there’s nothing you can do about this, sending a little money to your confined friend/loved one could make their life a little more bearable. This can be done by:
-Dropping the funds in person: The self-serve kiosks located in the prison’s lobby accept both cash and credit/debit cards. Be sure to bring your ID just in case you’re required to swipe it while depositing the funds.
-Sending via mail: Although this takes longer than other methods, it’s ideal for those who live far away from the facility and don’t have credit/debit cards. Do keep in mind that you’ll not be mailing cash, but rather a money order — this’ll be made out to the inmate’s name and sent to P. O. Box 1939 Georgetown TX.
-Depositing money online: Currently, Galveston County Jail partners with Access Corrections to process online deposits. Further instructions on how to use this method are available on the former’s website.
Local Law Enforcement Agencies
While there’s a handful of law enforcement agencies in Galveston County, a good share of them work in relative obscurity. This means you’re more likely to encounter:
-The Texas Highway Patrol: Officers from this division hold responsibility over local highways, particularly in rural areas.
-Officers from the Sheriff’s office
-Local Police: Headquartered at 601 54th Street, the local police department handles all crimes that occur in the area.
Ultimately, it is in your best interest to avoid needing a bail bond in the first place. But make no mistakes — even the most law-abiding citizens can find themselves at odds with the law. So be sure to give us a call at 281-713-5042 and learn more about bail bond options before you need them.