How do you someone out of jail in Austin / Travis County? Call me immediately with the person’s name and date of birth. The quicker I can get started, the sooner I can post the bond. This is a very valuable process that saves a tremendous amount of time and money.
Many people are familiar with what is known as a “Personal Bond”. Where, after signing a promise to appear, you are released from jail without having to post a cash or surety bond (from a bail bondsman) because nothing in your background or criminal history suggests you won’t show up to your court date. Travis County allows lawyers to facilitate the Personal Bond process by handling the paperwork from Pretrial Services (the local agency charged with supervising the issuance of Personal Bonds) and even advocating on behalf of inmates that have been denied Personal Bonds. If someone is approved by Pretrial Services for a Personal Bond without a lawyer, then that person is lumped into a stack of other approved bonds before the Pretrial Services Officer can take the stack down to the Magistrate on duty to get a signature. I can skip this wait time by signing off on the bond from Pretrial Services and see the Magistrate directly. Remember, when you are arrested, you must see the Magistrate to be admonished of your Constitutional rights and receive the proper warnings. If I pick up your bond from Pretrial Services and you still haven’t seen the judge, I can waive the Magistration process so you do not have to wait your turn. If Pretrial Services denies the Personal Bond, I can still pick up the bond from them and go see the Magistrate to persuade them that a Personal Bond is acceptable without Pretrial Service’s recommendation. Simply stated, if Pretrial Services denies a Personal Bond, an attorney can still get it approved by the Judge. Otherwise, the only other way to get the person out is by paying an expensive bail bondsman or putting up the entire cash bond amount.
Once a person is booked into jail, with a few exceptions, the only thing I have to wait for is the arresting officer to turn in his Probable Cause (PC) Affidavit. Once the PC Affidavit is received by the Magistrate, he/she will set the bond amount and a Cause Number will be assigned. I will interview the individual in custody to fill out the biographical information on the bond and then take it to Pretrial Services to get their recommendation. Typically, Pretrial will call the references listed to verify the information and check the individual criminal history before making their recommendation. Once that is finished, I take the bond down to the Magistrate on duty for a signature and to waive magistration and then I post the bond. Once the bond is posted, the release process begins. Depending on how busy the jail is and what time of day, the release process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to six hours.
A few things to note:
1) DWI, Marijuana possession, UCW, other drug possession cases (POCS), all can be bonded out through the Personal Bond process.
2) Not all cases receive Personal Bonds. Violent felonies and persons with lengthy criminal histories are unlikely to be approved by Pretrial Services or a Magistrate.
3) Travis County has a Magistrate on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The only reason I may have to “wait” on a Judge is because they are conducting a Magistration hearing that can last up to an hour typically.
4) Assault cases are a different animal, it is still possible to get a Personal Bond but it requires consent from the complaining witness, and this usually will take a while longer. Many times Emergency Protective Orders (EPO) are issued with these kinds of cases. If an EPO is issued, I cannot waive magistration, the person must see the Judge before they can be released.
5) Persons already on community supervision or probation sometimes require the Judge in the probating court to sign a Personal Bond, which can delay the Personal Bond process.
6) In most cases, I will apply my jail release fee to your legal fees for representing you on the case.