Bail Bond Reduction in Fort Bend County and Harris County, Texas
If you’ve been charged with a criminal offense, a judge may require to post bail as a condition of your release from custody. Bail is a tool used by the criminal justice system to ensure that defendants appear in court. If the amount of your bail is too high for you to reasonably pay, you may consider using the services of a Fort Bend County criminal defense attorney to get a bail bond reduction.
How Does Bail Work in Texas?
All defendants who have been charged with a crime in Texas have the right to a bail hearing, with the exception of individuals charged with a capital offense. In order to post bail, you must provide or pledge cash or real property to secure your release. If you fail to appear in court on the appointed date, you may forfeit your right to the assets.
If you cannot afford to pay the full amount of the bail, you also have the option of securing the services of a bail bondsman. A bail bondsman posts bail on your behalf and charges you a percentage of the bail amount as a fee. If you fail to appear in court as scheduled, the bail bondsman may hire a bounty hunter to forcibly return you to custody. Texas law permits licensed bounty hunters to exercise arrest warrants within certain guidelines.
Procedure for Setting Bail
The guidelines for setting and posting bail are outlined under Article 17.15 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. Specifically, this section states that:
1. Bail shall be sufficiently high to give reasonable assurance that the undertaking will 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.
5. The future safety of a victim of the alleged offense and the community shall be considered.
If you’re arrested for a crime, a magistrate judge has up to 48 hours to set bail in your case. The magistrate is not required to allow the defendant to post bail and in some cases, this request may be denied. If your request is denied, you will have to remain in jail until your trial concludes or your case is otherwise resolved.
Judges may base their decision to grant bail on a number of factors. When deciding whether to release a defendant on bail, the court may look at:
• Your work history
• Your family relationships
• Ties to the community, such as church or volunteer involvement
• The length of time you’ve lived in the area
• Your prior criminal record
• Your previous history of complying with bond orders if applicable
• Whether you currently have any outstanding bonds
• Whether any aggravating circumstances are involved in your case
The goal of bail is to allow you your freedom while still ensuring that you will appear in court to face the charges against you. If the judge feels that you may be a flight risk or that you pose a danger to yourself or the community, bail is likely to be denied. Your criminal defense attorney’s job is to present evidence and arguments to the court which demonstrate that you are deserving of release on bail.
Are There Any Other Conditions of Posting Bail?
Depending on the type of charges against you, you may be required to comply with certain other conditions as part of your release on bond. For example, if you were arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI), the court may require you to install a deep lung breath device in your vehicle. This device measures the alcohol content of your breath and is intended to prevent you from driving drunk.
Drug offenders may also be required to attend inpatient or outpatient drug counseling and treatment while sex offenders may be required to submit to electronic monitoring upon release. You may also face limitations on where you’re allowed to travel and be subject to a curfew each night.
Can My Bail Be Revoked?
Bail can be revoked if you violate any of the terms of your release or if you commit another crime while awaiting trial. If the court decides to revoke your bail, you will have to go back to jail until your case is resolved. When bail is revoked, the property or assets pledged to secure the bond are automatically forfeited to the court. Your Fort Bend County criminal defense attorney may file a motion with the court for another bail hearing. Typically, however, judges are unwilling to grant bail a second time in cases where a defendant’s original bail has been revoked.
My Bail is Too High. Can I Get It Reduced?
If the amount of your bail is more than you can reasonably afford, you may be able to get it reduced by enlisting the aid of a Fort Bend County bail bond reduction attorney. Your attorney can argue for a reduction of bail on your behalf so that you do not have to remain in jail prior to trial. In some cases, your lawyer may be able to get you released on your own recognizance, meaning no bail is necessary.
Under Texas law, the magistrate or judge in the case is required to allow your criminal defense attorney the opportunity to argue for a bail bond reduction. Article 17.091 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure allows for defense counsel to request a formal hearing concerning a defendant’s bail amount.
If you’ve been charged with a crime and are facing an exorbitant or unreasonable bail amount, contact the law office of Jason Lawrence today for help. Call (832) 356-4404 today to get the experienced legal help you need to fight for a bail bond reduction.