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This video features Samuel E. Bassett, a Criminal Law attorney based in Texas.
If you get arrested in Texas, how's your bail determined? We're asking Austin attorney Sam Bassett for this AskTheLawyers™ Quick Question.
Well bail is a somewhat controversial topic these days, but typically the bail amount is set by a magistrate, and they have general guidelines depending on the type of crime you are charged with, and whether or not you've had a prior record for criminal offenses. The bail, obviously, is going to be much higher for a murder case than it is for a DWI case. So the magistrate is charged with the duty of setting a bail that reasonably assures the defendant will appear for court. There is a lot of discussion these days and debate about the bail system being discriminatory against poor people, or people who have less means to post-bail. So it's a moving target these days, but generally the concept of bail is the seriousness of the offense and the history of the defendant, and whether or not the defendant lives in the area. Those are the main factors in setting the bail amount, traditionally.
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