Jail release is more than personal convenience. It’s also more than in the best interests of your job and family. It’s even more than the best thing for your mental state. If the defendant is incarcerated, it’s almost impossible to mount a successful defense.
Most people are willing to do almost anything to get out of jail. That includes accepting unfavorable plea bargains, even if they have solid defenses. Elevated stress hormone levels probably play a role here. Incarcerated defendants are not thinking clearly, especially about things like long-term consequences.
Tarrant County offers three basic jail release options. Not everyone qualifies for each of them, but at least one is usually right for everyone.
If the defendant has no criminal record and is charged with a nonviolent misdemeanor, like marijuana possession, petit theft, or perhaps DWI, pretrial release may be available. After defendants promise to appear at trial, and usually pay a small fee, the sheriff releases them.
Own recognizance (OR) release has some significant advantages. It costs almost nothing. And, there are generally fewer conditions, such as reporting to a bail bond officer.
OR release has some big drawbacks as well. Only some people qualify. Furthermore, a review board must examine the case and approve OR release.
Almost everyone qualifies for immediate cash bail release. Except in extreme cases, like murder, the sherrif sets a presumptive cash bail amount shortly after the defendant is booked in. This amount is usually based on the severity of the offense and the defendant’s criminal record.
Cash bail is normally refundable. Once the case is resolved, the defendant gets most of the money back. Along with paying money, defendants must normally adhere to certain conditions, such as:
Remaining within the county,
Avoiding further legal trouble, and
Reporting to a bail officer.
Judges might include offense-specific conditions as well, such as a no-contact order in an assault case. All bail conditions vanish when the case is resolved.
Money is the obvious drawback. Generally, presumptive amounts are around $750 for most misdemeanors and $1,500 for minor felonies. To many area families, fifteen hundred dollars might as well be fifteen million dollars.
If money is an issue, a surety bond is normally an option. These bonds are basically insurance policies which guarantee the defendant’s appearance at trial. Most bonding companies charge about a 15 percent premium.
In many cases, especially misdemeanors or traffic ticket warrants, a Fort Worth criminal defense attorney might be able to write a bond. These bonds usually have fewer conditions than other bail bonds.
Jail release is important for numerous reasons. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Fort Worth, contact Herreth Law. Home and jail visits are available.