What is a PR Bond?
A personal recognizance bond, or a PR bond is the cheapest and best alternative to being released from custody in the state of Texas. Almost all large to major cities in the state of Texas offer the service, but the vast majority of small and rural cities and counties do not offer it. Those areas require a surety bond, which requires you to put down money and pay for the services of a third-party who is bonded and licensed in that area to effectuate being released from custody.
Travis County has the strongest and is the widest user of PR bonds in the state of Texas. Even if a defendant is denied a personal bond after being interviewed by the Travis County court’s Pretrial Services, an attorney is still allowed to approach a judge and request that the judge release them on a PR bond. While other counties have some form of PR bonds, the practice adopted by Travis County is by far the largest number of PR bonds that are granted.
In general, a PR bond allows a defendant to be released without having to put money up after information is gathered from the defendant, such as their name, address, occupation, number of years they’ve lived in the county, etc. If the court finds that the person is not a flight risk and has minimal criminal history, they are often deemed a good candidate for a PR bond.
So the answer to what is a PR bond – it’s a chance to save yourself some money throughout the legal process. While a PR bond does not require any money upfront or deposited with the court, the defendant must pay an administrative fee of $40 or 3% of the bond amount to Pretrial Services within 7 days of release. If the defendant should fail to appear in court and answer their charges, they are personally liable for the entire amount of the bond. If a person who was given a PR bond fails to report to court, it’s much less likely they will be given one in the future, or that a judge will agree to recall a warrant and put the personal bond back in place.
How is a PR Bond Obtained?
Once a person is arrested, the pretrial services division (if the county has one) will handle the initial interview of the defendant to gather their personal information. If you are arrested, it is in your best interest to go ahead and give the pretrial services officer your personal information to see if you qualify for a bond. While you have the right to refuse the interview, we recommend that you participate.
The defendant’s personal information along with criminal history and a copy of the officer’s affidavit for warrant of arrest and detention are presented to the Magistrate. The magistrate will then set the bond amount and decide if he will approve it.
So, who qualifies for a PR bond? Well, that depends on several things, including (but not limited to):
- Whether the judge believes the individual poses a threat to the community or is a flight risk (ex. employed, a student, community leader, etc.)
- The type of case: violent or non-violent
- Defendant’s criminal history
- Motion for Personal Recognizance Bond or Motion for Bond Reduction
How Long Does a PR Bond Take?
The time it takes to qualify and be released on a PR bond varies widely from county to county, although Travis County is known for having the most expeditious PR bond process in the state. We always recommend you have an attorney assist you with your personal bond, as it greatly speeds up the time for the paperwork to get processed. 24 to 36 hours is a reasonable timeframe if Pretrial Services handles the PR bond process from the start to the finish, while an attorney can expedite this service to as fast as a couple hours in some instances.
Hire an Expert Texas Criminal Defense Attorney
To determine if someone is eligible for a PR bond the best practice is to contact an attorney to verify whether or not they will be released on the PR bond. In the vast majority of cases it is always advisable to have an attorney assist with a PR bond to ensure not only that it’s done right but also it is done as fast as possible. Additionally, attorneys can get PR bonds for defendants who have been denied PR bonds by Pretrial Services. If a defendant is denied for a PR bond, attorneys have several other types of bonds that can be approved to get someone out of jail.
Austin Criminal Attorney James Gill has countless years of experience defending those facing domestic violence charges and other criminal charges in Texas. Call today to learn more about Austin, TX bail bonds and schedule a consultation at (512) 448-4560. The Law Offices of James Gill, PLLC serves all of Austin, Westlake, Kyle, Buda, San Marcos and the surrounding TX communities.