If you’re facing a criminal charge and were released from custody after posting bail before your trial, you may be wondering if such bail can be revoked and if you can then be returned to custody.
The answer is yes, because bail comes with conditions, and you must follow them or risk revocation.
Under Texas law, bail can be revoked by a judge for failing to follow bond conditions, including appearing when you’re supposed to. Bail also can be revoked if you get arrested again during your bail period.
So even though you posted the bail set by a court and the court released you pending your trial, certain circumstances can place you back in custody.
Also, if bail was revoked due to breaking bail conditions—such as not appearing in court on a scheduled day—the bail money may be forfeited.
What is bail?
Bail is also known as “bond” or “bail bond,” depending on the circumstances. Essentially, it’s a payment or a pledge of payment in order to be released from custody pending a trial, provided that you promise to return for your court date, follow conditions, don’t get arrested and appear in court.
The type and amount of bond or bail is set by the court at bond hearings.
It can take the form of a cash bond, meaning a defendant pays the full amount of the bond in cash to the sheriff. That money is refunded when the case is over, even if you’re found guilty.
When a defendant cannot afford to pay a cash bond, they can engage a bail bondsman or bonding company to cover the bail for a non-refundable fee. This common practice is known as a bail bond. Bail bonds are most commonly posted through a bonding company, not a cash bond.
A personal recognizance bond occurs when a court uses its discretion to release a defendant without requiring any surety or collateral. This more commonly happens in Harris County, Texas, with misdemeanors (but not violent or sexual offenses).
Weinberg case involves revoking bail
Other states, unlike Texas, give the judge discretion on whether to set bond in the first place. Absent rare circumstances, a defendant is entitled to bond, and it cannot be revoked if the prosecutor files additional charges that allegedly occurred before bond was posted. Not so in states such as California.
In California, a former writer and producer of the ABC/NBC comedy series Scrubs, Eric Weinberg, had his $5 million in bail revoked at a hearing on Tuesday, October 25. That’s when Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Victoria Wilson agreed with a prosecutor who called Weinberg a potential “serial rapist.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, Weinberg was first arrested on July 14, 2022, after being accused of a series of sexual assaults against women—including rape—from 2012 to 2019. He then was released in lieu of a $3.5 million bail.
But he was arrested again on October 4, 2022, after prosecutors expanded previous charges against him to include 5 more women. At that time, his bail was increased to $5 million, and he was released again.
At a court hearing this week following that arrest, Weinberg pleaded not guilty to 18 felony counts of rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual battery, false imprisonment, assault by means to cause great bodily harm and sexual penetration by a foreign object.
The judge then revoked his bail, and he was returned to custody.
Learn what it takes to prove a sex charge “beyond a reasonable doubt” in Texas, and find out what defenses an attorney can use to help clear your name.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, an entertainment industry trade publication, the judge said she’d determined that Weinberg was dangerous and needed to be in custody since he “has engaged in a pattern of violence towards women for over six years.”
This is NOT a basis in Texas to revoke bond or even refuse to set a bond in the first place.
The charges against Weinberg included:
- 6 counts of sexual penetration by use of force
- 4 counts of oral copulation
- 3 counts of forcible rape
- 2 counts of sexual battery by restraint
- 1 count of assault by means of force likely to cause great bodily injury
- 1 count of attempted sexual penetration by use of force
- 1 count of false imprisonment by violence
The magazine reported that if Weinberg is found guilty of those charges, he faces more than 100 years in prison.
People magazine reports that the Los Angeles Police Department is also investigating more accusations by 2 additional women.
Besides Scrubs, Weinberg had also served as co-executive producer of Showtime’s Californication and FX’s Anger Management.
Did you know that even if a criminal charge is dropped, it can remain on your record? Learn about the consequences of being charged or convicted of a federal crime in Texas.
Jumping bail is also a crime
Also, keep in mind that violating a bail agreement doesn’t only mean that you’d be returned to custody pending trial—such bail violations are crimes in themselves.
For instance, failing to appear in court, also known as jumping bail, is a Class A misdemeanor under Texas law. This violation of bail conditions can lead to 1 year in jail, a $4,000 fine or both.
(An exception is if the original charge was for a crime punishable only by a fine. In that case, failing to appear in court is treated as a Class C misdemeanor, which is also punishable only by a fine.)
Even worse, if you jumped bail for a felony offense, that crime of bail-jumping is a 3rd-degree felony, whose punishments include 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
These bail-jumping sentences can be STACKED on top of any sentence for the original offense.
Get an experienced criminal defense attorney
You or a loved one may not face charges as elaborate or as severe as those against Weinberg. Yet you, too, may need to post bail and fight for your legal rights in order to preserve your freedom.
If so, it’s vital that you abide by the court’s terms for your bail agreement. Otherwise, you could have your bail revoked and wind up back in jail, where you’d remain until your trial.
Clearly, you must get an experienced criminal defense attorney to guide you when facing any criminal claims, accusations or charges. And you must be careful upon posting bail not to violate any terms of your bail agreement.