You’re sitting home one evening, and you get a collect call from jail. It is from your child, or your spouse, or another family member or friend. You are told that that he or she has been arrested, is in jail, and needs your help. You would like to do what you can, but you’ve never been arrested before, never been in jail before, and you’re knowledge consists of what you’ve seen on TV and in the movies. That knowledge is limited to understanding that you might be able to bail the person out of jail, but you assume that takes money and assets you just don’t have. You are unaware of any other possible ways to secure your family member’s freedom.
Trying to get a family member or friend out of jail can be a frustrating experience. Matthew Shrum is a Travis County criminal lawyer who has the experience to help you with a jail release problem. Mr. Shrum understands the law and the system, and he will be able to find the best and most cost-efficient way of getting your family member or friend out of jail. Call him for a free consultation.
WHAT TYPES OF JAIL RELEASE BONDS ARE THERE?
A bond is set by the judge as the amount of money necessary for having a defendant released pending resolution of the case. People hear primarily about bail bonds that involve putting up collateral and paying a fee to a bail bondsman in order to secure the release of someone in jail. But there are actually several types of bonds:
- Cash Bonds. This is the precise amount of money that must be paid before the defendant is released from jail. It means cash, a money order, or a cashier’s check. The check or money order would ordinarily be made out to the Sheriff’s Office of the county in which the defendant is being held, although this may not be the case if the defendant is being held in one county on charges from another county. A cash bond (except in child support delinquency cases) is returned to the defendant after the case is over, on order from the judge.
- Surety Bonds. This is a bond posted by a bondsperson, or bail bondsman. The fee for the surety bond (usually a percentage of the amount of the bond set by the judge), as well as any collateral the may be required, will be determined by the bondsperson. This can be both expensive and risky.
- Personal Bonds. Article 17.03 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure states that under certain circumstances, a defendant may post a “person bond” to secure his or her release from jail pending resolution of the case. A personal bond does not require any payment up front, or the posting of any security, although there is an administrative fee that is due within a week after being released. A personal bond also requires a sworn agreement by the defendant that he or she will appear in court as ordered, and comply with any conditions attached to the release. A defendant is not permitted to post a personal bond on his own. The request must come from Pretrial Services (an arm of the county) or an attorney.
- Bonds in Delinquent Child Support Cases. When a cash bond is set in a case where the defendant is being held for failing to pay child support, it will equal either the full amount, or a percentage of the amount, of the arrears. In this case, after the money is paid, it is sent to the person who has legal custody of the child. It is not returned to the defendant (known in civil cases as the “respondent”).
HOW CAN AN EXPERIENCED AUSTIN JAIL RELEASE ATTORNEY HELP?
An attorney can submit a request for a personal bond. But granting the request is a matter of discretion with the court. Various factors will be considered, including the defendant’s prior criminal history (including any history of complying – or failing to comply – with court orders), the nature of the offense, the defendant’s ties to the community (family, residence, job, etc.), and others. You definitely want an attorney who can argue forcefully for a personal bond, and if that is not possible, then seeing to it that the amount of bail is not prohibitive.
At the Law Office of Matthew Shrum, we understand the laws governing jail release. We also understand that your overriding concern is having your loved one or family member out of jail. We will do everything we can to achieve that goal as quickly and as painlessly as possible. Call us today for a free consultation.