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Right to Bail in Texas

NCJ Number
Houston Law Review Volume: 18 Issue: 3 Dated: (1981) Pages: 495-517
M Collins
Date Published
23 pages
This article discusses the right of an adult in custody in Texas, who is accused or convicted of a State criminal offense, to bail; right to bail is examined at various stages of judicial processing.
Bail is a security or promise given on behalf of an accused intended to ensure that the accused will appear as directed in a designated proceeding. The four types of bail in Texas include personal recognizance, personal bond, surety bond, and cash bond. There is no Federal constitutional right to pretrial bail. All pretrial bail rights in the State are based on the Texas Constitution. Offenders who are denied bail at this stage include capital felons and repeat felons. Regarding bail during trial, a long line of Texas cases has interpreted the constitutional right to bail in the State as applying to all noncapital prisoners before conviction. In the 1980 case of Ex Parte Laday, the court held that probationers have a constitutional right to bail pending an adjudication hearing. Right to bail ends, according to the Texas Constitution, with the entry of a judgment of guilt. In most jurisdictions, recidivists and serious offenders are treated more harshly than first offenders charged with less serious crimes. In contrast, these various groups are treated alike by Texas laws governing bail. Comprehensive bail reform in Texas is overdue. It is possible to utilize such restrictive conditions as limitation on travel and frequent reporting without impairing the defendant's presumption of innocence, and appropriate legislative and constitutional bail reforms should incorporate these possibilities. The article provides 160 footnotes.


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