Reasonable bail, which is guaranteed by the Eighth Amendment, is probably one of the most important guarantees in the Bill of Rights.
Many jurors assume that people who are in jail must have done something wrong. Parker County prosecutors know this, so they usually do not offer favorable plea bargain agreements in these cases. So, the defendant must accept an unfavorable offer, face a risky trial, or an equally-risky open plea. None of these options are very good.
Fortunately, a Weatherford criminal defense attorney basically has two chances to get a defendant out of jail before trial.
Parker County has a limited pretrial release mechanism. If the defendant is charged with a nonviolent misdemeanor, the defendant might be eligible for OR (own recognizance) release. Defendants promise to appear at trial, and the sheriff releases the defendant. A few other conditions, such as personal check-ins, might apply as well.
There is no formal hearing, but an attorney can sometimes advocate for defendants in these situations. If nothing else, the fact that the defendant has an attorney often impresses the review board.
In more serious cases, a bail bond is usually available. A bail bond is basically an insurance policy which guarantees the defendant’s appearance at trial.
Sometimes, attorneys can handle the entire process. Once the defendant is released, they immediately begin preparing a defense. In other situations, attorneys can refer defendants to bail bondsmen.
Bail Reduction Hearing
In extremely serious cases, like murder or sexual assault, initial bail is often unavailable. In other cases, the bail amount is too high. For many families, two or three thousand dollars might as well be two or three million dollars.
Judges usually consider or reconsider bail during the arraignment. This preliminary hearing takes place about seventy-two hours after the defendant is arrested.
During initial determinations, the sheriff usually only takes a couple of factors into account, such as the severity of the offense and the defendant’s criminal record. At a bail reduction hearing, the judge looks at other factors as well, such as:
Amount of evidence against the defendant,
Defendant’s threat to the community,
State’s arguments against bail, if any, and
Defendant’s contacts with the community.
After considering the arguments of both sides, most Parker County judges at least reduce the bail amount. Pretrial detention is not a punishment mechanism. It’s designed to protect the public and ensure the defendant’s appearance at trial. If an attorney sticks to these themes, a bail reduction usually happens.
Prompt jail release is often the key to a successful outcome in criminal cases. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Weatherford, contact Herreth Law. Home and jail visits are available.