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After an Austin driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrest, the arresting officer will bring the defendant back to the Travis County police station for booking. The officer will then file a report, known as a probable cause affidavit, with the court. This report lists the allegations against the defendant. After reviewing the affidavit and the defendant’s criminal history, the judge will set the bail amount. When determining the amount of bail, the judge uses severity of the crime and prior arrest history as the two most relevant factors.
The Bail Amount
In Travis County, bail amount may be set as low as $500 and as high as $10,000. The bail for most first time DWI offenses may range between $1500 and $3000 if there are no prior arrests. Because there is no set amount for a drunk-driving offense, the decision is ultimately left to the discretion of the judge reviewing the case.
Bail may be paid in one of two ways—you can pay the full amount or you can use a bail bondsman. A bail bondsman can help if you do not have the money to post bail; you simply pay a 10% fee and put something up for collateral. If you show up for your court appearance, you will get your bail money back; if you fail to show up, you forfeit your money and a warrant may be issued for your arrest.
In Travis County, bail is set by the judge between the hours of 7 a.m. and 1 a.m. This means that if a person is arrested for DWI after 1 a.m., his or her bail will be set in the morning—or even later. If this is the case, the defendant could be released during the night if an attorney performs a late night “hobby” release.
Fight Your DWI Charge
If you are trying to help a friend or family member get released from the Travis County Jail, please contact our law office right away. We are experienced DWI defense attorneys who defend clients against serious DWI charges. We will immediately step in to ensure that your loved one’s rights are upheld during this time. Fluent in both English and Spanish, our firm is open 24/7.