After being arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI), the last thing you probably want to do is spend a night, or even several nights, behind bars in the local jailhouse. Texas uses a bail bond system that allows someone arrested for a DWI, or for most any criminal charge, to leave the jailhouse early and return to their normal day-to-day life while the case develops. In order to utilize this early leave, the person charged with a DWI needs to post bail, or pay the court a certain amount of money.
Posting bail can be a somewhat efficient system when used appropriately. A person who pays the bail amount and subsequently shows up for all court appearances and follows all temporary court orders will have the full bail amount returned to them at the case’s conclusion. But, how much will posting bail cost for a DWI in Texas?
Calculating Bail for DWI Charges in Texas
Even though the criminal justice systems in Texas collectively process thousands of DWI arrests and charges each year, and each one of those cases involves a set amount of bail, it is still difficult to predict at what amount bail will be set. Since each case is different from the next, the discretion of a judge can increase or decrease bail, especially for misdemeanor cases.
Factors that might affect the set amount of bail for a DWI include:
- If the defendant has any other DWI convictions on his or her driving record.
- If the defendant refused to take a mandatory chemical test to determine his or her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level.
- If the defendant is considered dangerous, violent, or likely to leave the county or state when released due to other criminal convictions that describe a certain criminal history or proclivity.
- Whether or not the defendant committed intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter.
If an estimation must be made, you might be able to assume that the bail for a first-time DWI with no injuries could be set anywhere between $200 and $1,000. Typically, jailhouses do not benefit from keeping people behind bars since that person becomes their responsibility to house, feed, treat, and so forth. By setting bail amounts reasonably, the court does both the defendant and itself a favor.
DWI Bail Schedule for Harris County, Texas
There are some exceptions to the changing nature of bail amounts. A bail schedule is a predetermined bail amount that is used by some counties to make posting bail easier and faster for defendants who have been charged with certain crimes. Jailhouse bail schedules are generally not open to interpretation but can be paid before the defendant is ever placed in a cell.
In Harris County, Texas, for example, there is a bail schedule for serious DWI-related crimes:
- First offense felony DWI: $10,000 bail.
- Repeat DWI with felony DWI conviction on record: Bail set to 200% of the previous bail amount.
- Defendant already on bail for another felony charge: Bail is typically not set and the lawyer needs to approach the judge to request a bond be set, if at all.
- Defendant arrested for DWI with stolen property or illicit drugs inside vehicle: Bail set to 200% of the believed value of the stolen goods or illegal substances.
What is a Bail Bondsman Service?
In case you cannot afford the bail amount set for your DWI charges, you may be interested in using a bail bondsman service. A bail bondsman will pay the entire bail amount if the defendant intends to attend all court dates and pays a little more for the service. The cost for the service is usually around 10% the bail amount. For example, if your bail is set to $10,000, you might be able to pay a bail bondsman $1,000 for them to post bail on your behalf. Most jailhouses will readily provide inmates and suspected offenders with a local bail bondsman office.
Unwavering Legal Defense for Your DWI Case
After you have your bail situation sorted out, the next thing to do is seek legal counsel for your defense. Tyler Flood & Associates is led by Houston DWI Attorney Tyler Flood, who is board certified by the State Bar of Texas in Criminal Law and has more than 15 years of practice experience under his belt. When you want to get serious about your DWI defense, you want our help.
Call or contact us online to learn what you should do next in your DWI case.