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What You Need To Know About Posting Bond in Houston or Harris County

Surety Bond Bail Bond Harris County Houston

In Harris County or Houston City, there are pretty standard processes for being released from jail after an arrest. Depending on the circumstances, here is what you need to know about posting bond after an arrest in Houston or Harris County. 

After an arrest, you will be processed and booked at the local jail facility, where you will also learn how much bail you must pay to be released. There is usually a schedule that lists out all of the costs that are associated with misdemeanor crimes and certain felonies. If you’re charged with higher-level offenses, then you might not find out your bail amount until after you’ve had a bond hearing in front of a judge. 

If you find out how much you owe, and can pay the full amount, you will arrange with the officers to make a payment. If you cannot afford the amount in cash, then you may contact a relative or co-signer to vouch for your ability to pay in the future. If you require a co-signed to help make bond, then they need to understand the stakes of co-signing for you. Co-signers will be required to present financial information and proof of collateral or resources to pay the money owed. 

When it comes to how you can post bond and gain release from jail, most defendants have three different options. 

A surety bond is primarily used when the defendant isn’t able to afford to pay their bond in cash. In this case, they will use their resources to pay for their legal representation and form a surety bond between the court and a bail bond company. If the bail bond company agrees to pay the entire amount of the bond, then they will do so in exchange for 10% of the bond amount upfront. If the defendant fails to show up to any court hearing, then the bond is forfeited, and the defendant will be required to pay the entire amount of the bond immediately. 

A personal recognizance bond is when a judge permits the defendant to be released from jail without paying any money. These bonds are usually the work of experienced criminal defense attorneys that can make a very good case for release for the defendant. Personal recognizance bonds are only ever considered during misdemeanor cases that do not include any drugs or violence. 

Cash bonds can be used in two situations. The first is when the defendant has money to pay the entire bond upfront or can borrow it from a friend or family. The second time the judge may require a cash bond is if the defendant is considered a flight risk, or has failed to pay any court fees or fines associated with other cases. With cash bonds, the court will hold the money as long as the case is active. The defendant will get their money back if they show up for all hearings, despite as to whether or not they’re found guilty. 

Depending on the jail, this process may be a bit different from place to place. However, if you are arrested in Houston or Harris country, you can count on your bond posting process to resemble what we’ve just outlined. 

Before you make any impactful decisions regarding your bond, be sure to consult a qualified attorney or speak to legal representation to get a full overview of your options. 

If you’re facing misdemeanor or felony charges in the Houston or Harris Country area, contact the office of Christopher T. Gore to find out how he can help represent your case. 

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A Breakdown of the Texas Justice System

Texas Justice System

The Texas justice system has streamlined processes and produces that are followed following every arrest leading up to the trial. If you’ve been arrested, your situation will be unique to the charges you face; however, there are some standard procedures that you can expect to occur after you’ve been arrested in Texas.

The arrest

During the arrest itself, the officer is required to read your Miranda rights, which include that you have the right to remain silent and that anything you say can be used against you in a court of law. They will also inform you of your right to have an attorney, and that if you cannot afford one, one will be appointed to you.

Facing the judge

After the arrest, the law requires you to be seen by a judge within at least 48 hours. The judge will explain what you are facing and what the charges meanwhile making sure that you understand your rights. After appearing before the judge, you will be given a reasonable amount of time to consult with an attorney and set up a bond.

The bail/bond hearing

Once you’ve consulted with a lawyer, they will request a bond hearing. The bond hearing is when the judge decides upon the conditions you must follow to make sure that you return to court for your hearing. If you are being held in jail, they will determine a bail amount that you can pay to be released until your trial. The amount set for your bail is determined on a case by case basis. Your attorney can help negotiate a reasonable bail amount depending on the circumstances of your case.

Filing the charges

After bail is set, then the prosecutor will file charges via a complaint, information, or an indictment, depending on the case. A complaint is used for Class C misdemeanors, an information request is used for Class A and B misdemeanors, and an indictment is used for felonies. Indictments are almost always presented to grand juries of 12 people who will vote to determine if the defendant is guilty.

The Arraignment

After charges are filed, you are expected to appear in court and hear your charges read in open court. You will be given a copy of the complaint and have the option to enter a plea or to request a continuance. If you either the defense or the prosecution need to investigate further or explore additional evidence, then a continuance will be granted. If you and your attorney come to an agreement with the prosecution about a plea bargain, then you will present this to judge and announce how you will plead. The judge has the right to accept or reject a plea agreement.

The Trial

There are two parts to trials that take place in Texas. The guilt/innocence phase is where the state will try and prove that the defendant is guilty by presenting their evidence and calling witnesses. The defense will also be able to cross-examine the witnesses and present their case in favor of the defendant.

After the guilt/innocence phase, the judge or jury will deliberate and announce their verdict to the court.

After the verdict is announced, if the defendant is found guilty, you move on to the punishment phase. During this phase, the judge will announce their recommendation for sentencing or set another date for a sentencing hearing.

While this is a pretty accurate depiction of the justice system’s process following an arrest, remember that each case is unique and may be treated differently. It’s highly recommended that you consult with an experienced attorney that can help you navigate the logistics of your case. If you’re looking for a criminal defense attorney you understand the circumstances of your case in Texas, contact Christopher T. Gore for more info on how he can represent you.

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Dealing with Bond Issues When Your Loved One is Arrested

Male in Handcuffs

When you find out that your loved one is arrested, you might feel the urge instantly enter problem-solving mode. Parts of the situation are out of your hands, but helping your loved one post bond is one of the most helpful things you can do to help get them temporarily out of jail.

Collect information

Find out the name of the arresting agency and the name of arresting officer(s) to have for future reference. Ask the officer where your loved one is being booked and where you can bond them out. In some cases, your loved one may qualify for recognizance or signature bond. This means they will be referred from jail after they go through booking procedures without having to post the bond.

Determine the charge

Ask the arresting officer or the jail what the specific charge was. You can also ask to see a document called the charging instrument which lists the exact name of the alleged crime and the particular code section.

Think twice before contacting a bondsman

If your loved one is held to a high money bond, then you may want to consider contacting a bail bondsman. These are individuals and businesses who lend money to people to post bond. It might seem like a good idea under pressure, but there are grave risks associated with bail bond agencies. Talk to your lawyer first to come up with other options before resorting to a bondsman.

Post bond

When posting bond, you might be required to pay an additional $50 fee. Most county jails have a bond out window somewhere in the administrative section of the building. You should think of the bond as a gift to your friend or loved one. Don’t plan on getting the money back. Bond may be forfeited for failure to appear at future court dates; it may be assigned your loved one’s attorney, or it may be used to pay your loved one’s fines and court costs. If there is any bond left over after the resolution of the case, it will be refunded to the person who posted the bond minus an administrative fee of usually about 10% of the bond amount.

Arrange a ride

Don’t forget to arrange a ride for your loved one upon their release on bond. Some police stations and county jails are not in the safest neighborhoods, so you don’t want your loved one stranded there without a ride.

Take care of day to day needs

If your loved one can’t post bond, they may need your help with other things until their release. For example, you might need to provide the jail with your loved one’s prescriptions. You also may want to contact their school, job or other obligations and inform them of their absence. Also, keep in mind things like rent and bills that need to be paid while you’re loved one is incarcerated.