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What to do if a Loved One is in Jail in Texas

When a loved one, family member, or close friend is arrested and taken to jail, a number of questions instantly arise. Is my loved one all right? What are the charges against him or her? What steps are required for a release from jail? How long will it take for a release? What will it cost for a bond to secure a release? Is a bond required? Are visits allowed?

If a loved one is in jail in Austin or a surrounding community , you can help facilitate the release and ease the anxiety he or she may be feeling. Travis County provides tools on its web site that can assist you in obtaining information about your loved one’s situation and how to secure a release from jail.

It is also often helpful to consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after a loved one’s arrest to protect your loved one’s rights and possibly expedite the release process. Attorneys have access to private communication channels with arrestees that non-lawyers do not.

Austin Lawyer for Jail Release

If your loved one has been arrested in Austin or a surrounding area of Travis County, both you and your loved one need the advice of an experienced lawyer . Working with an attorney familiar with procedures at the jail can often help secure a release from jail as quickly as possible.

The Law Office of Kevin Bennett is equipped with the knowledge and resources necessary to defend your loved one during and after an arrest. Kevin Bennett is a dedicated criminal defense attorney in Travis County who will work around the clock to achieve the speediest release and the most favorable outcome possible in your loved one’s case.

The Law Office of Kevin Bennett will take a case to trial if necessary to fight against a conviction and will always uphold the most favorable interests of its clients. When representing your loved one, Kevin Bennett believes in complete transparency so that you and your loved one are both aware of every single detail pertaining to his or her case. Call The Law Office of Kevin Bennett today at (512) 476-4626 to schedule a free consultation.

Travis County Information Center for Jail Releases

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Steps to Take if a Loved One is in Jail in Texas

Most people arrested in the Austin area are transported to the Travis County Jail, only a few blocks from the Texas State Capitol. The county’s other jail is the Travis County Correctional Center (TCCC), near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport about 10 miles to the southeast in Del Valle, Texas.

When the initial phone call comes informing you that a loved one has been arrested and is in jail, you should remain calm and be guarded about what you say. If the person arrested is calling, remember that outbound calls from jail by arrestees are almost always recorded. This makes it prudent to avoid discussing the details of the arrest, interactions with police, and the circumstances that preceded the arrest, as jailhouse recordings may be admissible at trial.

If your loved one does not know information about the charges or bond, you can determine the charges against your loved one and the type and amount of bond required for release from jail on the Travis County Sheriff’s Office web site. However, it may be several hours after an arrest before the booking information is posted online.

An experienced criminal law attorney who is familiar with the policies and procedures at the jail can help determine exactly what needs to be done to obtain the fastest release of your loved one, family member, or friend, especially if no information is available on the sheriff’s office web site.

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Bail and Bond for a Loved One in Jail in Austin

If a loved one is in jail in Travis County, a judge or magistrate will generally grant bail in most misdemeanor cases and for certain felonies. Some charges result in an automatic bail amount.

Bail is the actual money paid for a release, while bond is a promise to appear. Texas law allows for any of three types of bonds:

  • Personal bond;
  • Surety bond; or
  • Cash bond.

In granting a bondl, the court is releasing a person from jail on the promise that he or she will return for trial. If the person (or his or her attorney) misses any hearings or trial dates, the judge may revoke the bond and issue an arrest warrant for failure to appear.

Personal Bond

If the charges are minor, an arrested person may qualify for a personal bond, which is a sworn promise to return to court for trial and to comply with any conditions set by the court before trial. No bail deposit is required for the release of an arrested person if a court approves a personal bond. However an attorney that either works towards or obtains a personal bond on behalf of a defendant will charge a non-refundable fee for this service.

Also known as a “release on recognizance” or PR bond, a personal bond is usually most favorable because it does not require any money to be deposited with the Court or paid to a bail bond company. An attorney will usually charge a non-refundable fee to bond someone out of jail, however, a PR bond through an attorney is often the least expensive way to get out of jail. In Travis County, a non-refundable administrative fee must also be paid promptly after release from jail or the personal bond may be revoked, possibly resulting in an arrest warrant. This fee is paid by the Defendant to Travis County.

Surety Bond

A surety bond is a bail paid by a licensed bail bond company, which assures the court the arrested person will appear for trial.

The company will charge a non-refundable percentage of the bail amount for its service before paying. A bail bond company will almost always also require collateral and/or co-signers to guarantee the bail money it is paying in case the arrested person does not appear in court, which would result in a revocation of bond and the issuance of an arrest warrant.

After the trial, the bail money will be returned to the bond company by the court.

Cash Bond

If the person arrested is not eligible for a personal bond, but has enough cash to post the full amount of bail, or if someone can pay the full amount of bail in cash for them, they may be released on a cash bond without needing to secure a surety bond. A cash bond may be paid by cash, money order, or cashier’s check only.

A cash bond will only be returned to the arrested person—and only after a trial ends. All or a portion of a cash bond may be used by the court to pay court costs, fines, and any restitution before any remaining balance is returned.

An experienced criminal law attorney can be instrumental in quickly securing bail for an arrested person and may be able to have the bail amount lowered or convince the court to accept a personal bond.

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Visiting a Loved One in a Travis County Jail

Sometimes a bail amount may be too high or bail may be denied, making it is impossible to bail a loved one out of jail right away. In Travis County, the jails are equipped to accommodate visitors in person and via computer hookups.

Two 20-minute on-site visits are permitted for each inmate per week, but visitors must follow a strict list of rules, including registering with a private security company before a visit is allowed. The same company, Securus, manages electronic visits, but fees apply. Email exchanges are permitted, but are also accompanied by fees.

Anyone may deliver money to be distributed to a loved one in the Travis County Jail in person (at the TCCC location) or via the U.S. Mail. No fees apply.

Only outgoing collect calls are permitted by jail inmates, as they are unable to receive calls. Visitors may purchase prepaid phone cards at the jail to give to inmates in order to save on the cost of collect calls. Attorneys of record are permitted to discuss cases over the phone with inmates for no charge and those conversations are not recorded.

All inmates are medically screened at booking, so bringing prescription medications to the jail is forbidden. The jail’s medical staff administers prescriptions if a loved one is in jail.

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Additional Texas Jail Release Resources

Travis County Sheriff’s Office — Anyone with Internet access can conduct an inmate or warrant search and learn booking information and the charges against an arrested person, as well as the type of bond required for release on this web site maintained by Travis County government. The site also includes details about the county’s two jail facilities, as well as visitor information.

Texas Code of Criminal Procedure — Bail — Title 1, Chapter 17 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure enumerates the state laws pertaining to bail and bond.

Find an Attorney if a Loved One is in Jail in Austin , TX

If a loved one is in jail in Austin or Travis County, Texas, you should contact a qualified criminal defense attorney right away to schedule a consultation.

The Law Office of Kevin Bennett represents clients all over Travis County, including Sunset Valley, Lago Vista, Bee Cave, and many other communities.

Kevin Bennett is an experienced lawyer who will act quickly to determine the facts and help your loved one gain release from jail. He specifically limits the number of cases he handles at any one time so all clients are assured that they will receive exceptionally personal attention.

Call The Law Office of Kevin Bennett today at (512) 476-4626 if a loved one is in jail. Your initial consultation is free, and it will begin the process of having you loved one released from jail and defending him or her in court.