How Do I get a Lower Bond. or a P.R. Bond?

The most important thing after an arrest is bonding out.  Some offenses are eligible for a P.R. bond or personal bond.  Other more serious offenses will have to qualify for a bond reduction only.  There are three types of bonds: (1) a P.R. bond, or personal bond, (2) a cash bond, or (3) a surety bond.

What Is a P.R. Bond or Personal Bond?

A P.R. Bond, or personal bond, is a personal recognizance bond.  A person is released from jail without payment.  The person gives his or her word that he or she will appear in court when required.  A failure to appear in court would cause the person to owe the “amount” of the P.R. bond, or personal bond, and cause a warrant to issue for his or her arrest.  The amount of a P.R. bond only comes into play when a person does not show up for court since such person did not make a payment to bond out of jail.  For example, a person may leave jail on a $3,000 P.R. bond or personal bond and only owe such amount if he or she does not appear in court.  The best part about this type of bond is that no payment is required.

Is a P.R. Bond or Surety Bond Better?

The negative part about a P.R. or personal bond is that Counties are starting to put people under oppressive pretrial bond conditions.  Such pretrial bond conditions function exactly like community supervision or probation.  The only difference is that pretrial bond conditions may be just a bit less intensive.  They can prevent a person from drinking alcohol, possessing a firearm or ammunition, or seeing the victim of an offense.  They also require that a person randomly reports to community supervision or probation and submit to random “UAs” or urinalysis testing.  You may also need the permission of a probation officer to spend the night in a County outside of your residence.  You will further have to pay probation fees.  If you can afford a cash or surety bond, it is much smarter to do so.  This will allow you to avoid oppressive pretrial bond conditions.  You have to remember that it can take a long time to settle a criminal case or obtain a dismissal.  Obviously, it is much better to be out on bond without pretrial bond conditions.

What Is a Cash Bond?

A cash bond means that a person has to pay the full bond amount in cash.  You will get your money back after the case concludes or is dismissed, assuming you show up for each court date.  If you don’t show up for a court date, the entire cash bond amount is forfeited to the County.  Cash bonds are typically posted at the local county jail.

What Is a Surety Bond?

A surety bond is done with a bail bondsman.  A bail bondsman typically requires that you pay 10% of the bond.  The bail bondsman then acts as your surety and backs the full amount of your bond.  Many times, a bail bondsman will allow you to put 5% down and pay the remaining 5% balance in payments.  For higher bond amounts, a bail bondsman may require that you put up collateral (such as a house) to ensure recovery for him or her if you fail to show up to court in order to cover the bond amount.  You will lose the 10% paid to the bondsman after your case concludes because the bondsman took a 90% risk on your behalf in order to bond you out.  The bondsman was just as liable as you if you failed to attend court for your case.

How Do I Go About Getting a Bond Reduction?

Often, a person needs a bond reduction because he or she cannot afford to pay 10% of the bond amount to a bail bondsman.  If your case is not indicted, an attorney will have to file a writ of habeas corpus for you.  This will bring you to court and allow the attorney to have a bond hearing for you.  If you have been indicted, the attorney will need to file a motion to reduce your bond in order to have a bond hearing.

How Does a Court Determine the Lowering of a Bond?

What considerations does a court have in lowering a bond?  “Although bail should be sufficiently high to give reasonable assurance that the undertaking will be complied with, the power to require bail bond is not to be used so as to make it an instrument of oppression, and excessive bail is prohibited by our state and federal constitutions, as well as the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.  See Ex parte Ramirez-Hernandez, 642 S.W.3d 907, 916 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 2022, no pet.).

Texas Code of Criminal Procedure article 17.15 provides the factors in determining a bond amount:

(1) The bail shall be sufficiently high to give reasonable assurance that the undertaking be complied with,

(2) The power to require bail is not to be so used as to make it an instrument of oppression,

(3) The nature of the offense and the circumstances under which it was committed are to be considered,

(4) The ability to make bail is to be regarded, and proof may be taken upon this point, and

(5) The future safety of a victim of the alleged offense and the community shall be considered.

Texas Code of Criminal Procedure article 17.15 (West 2023).

Other relevant factors include: “(1) the nature of the offense and possible sentence; (2) the defendant’s ties to the community—including family ties; (3) length of residency; (4) employment history; (5) prior criminal record; (6) the existence of other bonds against the defendant and his compliance with conditions of those bonds; and (7) aggravated factors involved in the alleged offense.”  Ex parte Ramirez-Hernandez, 642 S.W.3d at 916.

However, “the right to reasonable bail is a complement to and based on the presumption of innocence.”  Id.  “The repellent nature of the accusation does not diminish the presumption of the accused’s innocence.”  Id.  “The provision in Article 17.15 providing that ‘the power to require bail is not to be so used as to make it an instrument of oppression’ embraces a warning that bail is not to be used to insure preconviction punishment.”  Id.  “Bail is oppressive when the record indicates the trial court set the bail amount for the express purpose of forcing a defendant to remain incarcerated pending trial or appeal.”  Id. 

How Do I Get a Lower Bond?

Hire an attorney.  An attorney is your vehicle to get a lower bond because an attorney will know how to file the appropriate motion for you and fight to get you a lower bond.  It often involves testimony from witnesses to address the various factors that a Court considers.  You will need to have witnesses that are prepared to testify on your behalf, as well as documentation showing your work history or any other relevant factor.


  1. An “indictment” is the formal charging document.  This is done by the District Attorney’s Office indicting you through a grand jury.  Until an indictment returns, you have only been “charged” or accused by the arresting police officers.  Sometimes, the District Attorney’s Office decides not to indict you after an arrest.  This is a good result as the case is dismissed or “declined.”


Image by Wesley Tingey Licensed by Unsplash

top criminal attorneys in san antonio
San Marcos Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
Avvo logo
Expertise Award for Best Criminal Defense Lawyers in San Antonio 2020