The presumption of innocence is the foundation of any criminal defense case. But if the defendant is in jail, that presumption of innocence essentially becomes a presumption of guilt.
Defendants who are behind bars often accept unfavorable plea bargains just to get things over with. Holding out for a better deal is not an option. Neither is setting the case for trial and challenging the state’s evidence.
Additionally, if the defendant is in jail, many jurors assume that the defendant must have done something wrong. To eliminate this factor, Weatherford criminal defense attorneys routinely ask for jury instructions that put a pin in that thought. Sometimes judges grant these requests and sometimes they don’t.
Perhaps most importantly, people who are in jail cannot participate in their own defenses in any meaningful way. In criminal law matters, the attorney/client relationship is like a partnership. It’s very hard for even the best lawyers to take on the prosecutor without their partners by their sides.
Fortunately, there are a number of pretrial release options in Parker County.
The cash bail system has worked very well for a long time. But as the number of unsentenced county jail inmates rises, more people are criticizing this system.
In response to these criticisms, Parker County officials began a pretrial release program. Typically, if the defendant has no criminal record and is charged with a non-violent misdemeanor, OR (Own Recognizance) release may be available.
The obvious problem with this system is that it only covers a limited number of cases. Until officials expand the pretrial release program, it may not be an option for very many inmates.
That leaves either cash bail or a bail bond. Usually, the Parker County Sheriff sets a presumptive bail amount. That amount might be $750 in a misdemeanor and $1,500 in a felony.
If the defendant deposits the entire amount in cash with the county, the sheriff will release the defendant. Later, when the case is resolved, the defendant gets most of that money back. If paying the entire amount is not an option, a bondsman can write a surety bond for about a 15 percent nonrefundable premium.
In all these situations, the defendant must abide by certain conditions. Common bail terms include periodic in-person reporting and attending all pretrial hearings.
Bail Reduction Hearing
Sometimes, the sheriff does not set a presumptive amount. Other times, the initial amount is so high that the defendant cannot even afford the bond premium. So, within about forty-eight hours of arrest, a judge will convene a bail reduction hearing. At that hearing, the judge will consider a number of factors, such as:
Severity of the offense,
Amount of evidence against the defendant,
Defendant’s ties to the community,
Amount of money the defendant can pay, and
Defendant’s flight risk, if any.
Typically, an attorney works out a deal with prosecutors. This arrangement usually involves some give and take. For example, the prosecutor might agree to a reduction if the defendant agrees to electronic monitoring.
Prompt jail release jumpstarts your criminal defense. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Weatherford, contact Herreth Law. Convenient payment plans are available.