Do you need to get someone out of jail immediately? Please see our Travis County Jail Release page.
The Jails in Travis County and Their Purposes
The Travis County jail (Central Booking) that most citizens see is located at 500 W. 11th Street, in Austin, Texas, the seat of Travis County. This is the downtown or holding jail. The larger jail, known as TCCC or the Travis County Correctional Complex, is located past the new Austin Bergstrom airport at 3614 Bill Price Road in Del Valle. Travis County has two jails because of the sheer number of arrests in this county. The downtown facility simply cannot hold everyone.
When you are arrested you are brought to the downtown jail. This is where you are booked in, photographed, fingerprinted, and seen by a judge who sets your bond amount. Depending on what you are arrested for it may take up to 48 hours before you can see a judge.
How Do You Get Released From a Travis County Jail?
If you need to be released from an Austin-area jail, you should first know that a criminal defense lawyer can often get you out of jail faster and cheaper than a bail bondsman. See our Travis County Jail Release page for more information.
Once a bond is set, you will either be released from jail on your own recognizance — a promise that you will comply with the court’s orders — or you won’t. There is no exact formula that defines who will be released and who will not as each situation is unique. Factors that are considered in determining if you make a personal bond are:
- the nature of the offense,
- your criminal history if any,
- your employment,
- time in Travis County,
- and references that can verify your information.
For the most part the only charges that will qualify you for release from Travis County jail without an attorney or bondsman’s help are nonviolent misdemeanors, and verification of the above-mentioned items. Inmates who do not make personal bonds will be held in the downtown jail for several days and eventually transferred to the Del Valle TCCC jail to make room for the new arrests. The Del Valle jail is often where inmates who cannot make bond and awaiting trial are housed. This jail can holds upwards of 3000 people while the downtown jail is significantly smaller.
If you ever find yourself in any of the Central Booking/Travis County jails you will at a certain point be permitted a phone call. Whether or not that call is free or a collect call depends on circumstances too numerous to list here. But you’d be best served by staying polite and not causing a ruckus if you want your free call! It certainly is not your right to place a free call in all circumstances.
While in jail there are certain things everyone should know. The sheriff’s department monitors all mail. Nothing illegal is allowed in or out of the jail. All phone calls made from the jail are subject to recording. Do not make the mistake of saying anything related to the crime you are accused of over the phone. Prosecutors routinely listen to inmate calls and will use them against you in a trial or even worse file additional charges if you attempt to cover anything up over the phone.
Attorney to inmate calls are privileged. However, that doesn’t mean that sometimes they are not listened to. If the parties on the phone are not immediately identified as attorney and client then you run the risk of having that conversation overheard.
Simple rule: If you are in jail, do not discuss your case over the phone with anyone, including family members. If you are speaking with your attorney make sure the attorney is immediately identified as your attorney and that the communication is thus privileged.
Jail vs. Prison
Most people don’t know that the terms jail and prison are not interchangeable. Jail is a short-duration facility for people awaiting trial and convicted persons serving a sentence generally less than one year. Jails are run by the county sheriff. Prison, on the other hand, is a longer-term detention facility run by the Texas Department of Corrections.