Austin Jail Release Attorney
Jail Release Lawyer In Travis County
When arrested, the first question is usually – how do I secure release from jail? For many people, it is often the first time they have ever considered contacting a criminal defense attorney. Every minute spent in jail can seem like an eternity.
Luckily, an experienced Austin jail release lawyer can help get your person released from the Travis County jail sooner. Sometimes the jail release process takes just a few hours. In other cases, the wrong attorney can delay release from jail for weeks or even months as you await your day in court. Don’t spend any longer in custody than is absolutely necessary. Call ATX Legal today for a free consultation.
Bail Bonds in Travis County
After being processed by Travis County Central Booking and having bail set by a judge, a bond is the way to be released from jail while you wait for your court date. It is essentially a promise to appear. If you fail to appear, you will face consequences. Usually, this means that your bond will be revoked, a warrant will be issued, and you will owe a sum of money, which will vary based on the amount of bail.
The purpose of bail is only to secure the arrested person’s return to court, and to protect the community. That’s it. It is not supposed to be used as a punishment. Of course, in practice it often seems like a punishment.
The best result for a jail release is always a Personal bond – also called a Personal Recognizance Bond or PR bond. This is a jail release without posting a cash or surety bond. Except for a small fee ($20-40), there is no cost at all. A judge will look at the probable cause affidavit and the totality of the circumstances when determining whether to grant a personal bond. In some cases, a judge will grant a Personal Bond before an attorney is even hired. However, in other cases, a lawyer is needed to plead the case for the defendant before the magistrate judge.
An experienced Austin jail release attorney will point to many factors that indicate ties to the local area while also demonstrating that there is no danger to the community. Following House Bill SB6, if you are arrested for certain county charges, like violent offenses, you are not eligible for personal bond.
Cash or Surety Bonds
If a PR Bond is impossible, a defendant can also be released with a cash or surety bond. A cash deposit bond means you deposit the full amount of the bail with the sheriff. Once the case is done, you get the money back, minus a small fee. If the defendant skips town, the amount is forfeit.
Please note that the Sheriff does not accept personal checks for cash bonds. They accept a money order, a cashier’s check, or cold hard cash (save your receipt.) If posting a cash bond, you need to go to the physical location of the inmate. So if they have moved to the Travis County Correctional Complex, you need to post at Del Valle.
A surety bond (or bail bond) is posted by a bail bondsman. You will typically pay 10% of the bond amount to the bondsman, who then posts with the court. After bond paperwork is posted, you are released from jail. You do not get your money back for bail. If the person skips town or misses court after paying a surety, bail will be revoked and the bail bondsman can file suit for the remaining amount of the bond. Sometimes bondsmen have other requirements, like a cosigner or collateral like a home.
Travis County Jail
The Travis County Jail in downtown Austin, Texas, is typically where you or your friend/loved one will go after arrest. The facility is located at 500 W 10th St, Austin, TX 78701, next door to the Blackwell-Thurman Justice Center.
After a day or two in the downtown jail, an inmate may be transferred to Del Valle to the Travis County Correctional Complex (website here). For any inquiries, contact can be made via phone at (512) 854-4180, or you can locate an inmate at their website.
What is Pre-trial Services?
Technically part of the judiciary, pre-trial services (website here) plays a crucial role. This department is tasked with assessing the risk posed by the defendant and providing the judge with a recommendation on whether to release or detain the accused, considering factors such as the severity of the offense and the individual’s prior criminal history.
They also monitor defendants who are released on bond, ensuring they comply with bond conditions and appear for their scheduled court dates. Pre-trial Services can therefore help to balance the needs for public safety, court appearance assurances, and the rights of the accused.
If you miss court by mistake, it is important to rectify the situation as soon as possible. If you act soon enough, an attorney can request that your bond be reinstated without penalty. However, if you wait months or longer, the result is likely to be worse. The bondsman – or in the case of PR bonds, Travis County Pre-trial Services can file a civil suit against you for the remaining amount of bond.
There is sometimes the option to settle the civil suit for a lower dollar amount. It is important to hire a veteran Austin criminal defense attorney before reinstating your bond to potentially avoid a long sit in jail before the matter is handled.
Bond Reductions in Travis County
In Travis County, it is possible to request a bond reduction if the initially set amount is unaffordable. Typically, attorneys do this by filing a Motion for Bond Reduction.
The judge considers various factors before approving a reduction in bail amount. These include the nature and severity of the alleged crime, the defendant’s previous criminal history, the potential risk of the defendant not appearing at court hearings, and their ties to the community. It’s recommended to seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney when filing a bond reduction.
A walk-through is a good option for handling an open arrest warrant. To do a walk-through in Travis County, you must hire an attorney to approach a judge or magistrate to seek a bond before you turn yourself in. This can be accomplished with a personal bond, a surety bond, or a cash bond.
You can then turn yourself in to the Travis County jail at central booking while simultaneously posting bond. After processing, you walk out the door. This clears your warrant so you no longer need to worry about being arrested.
Travis County is much more favorable for PR bonds than surrounding counties. If you have an open warrant in Hays or Williamson, for example, it is likely that you will need to post bond through a bondsman.
Another way in which Travis County has an edge over other counties is that they have a magistrate on the bench 24 hours a day. An after-hours jail release on PR bond is possible in Travis County, but in surrounding counties, you will often have to wait until the morning.
Bond Conditions in Travis County
Bond Conditions are a way for judges to protect the community when releasing a defendant. They are not supposed to be used as a punishment, but in practice that is frequently exactly how they are used.
Common bond conditions differ by case type. For DWIs, an ignition Interlock Device is common. For Family Violence, an ankle monitor or even house arrest may be ordered and the defendant is ordered to stay away from the complaining witness (accuser). It is the condition of virtually all bonds that the defendant refrains from consuming drugs or alcohol and refrain from further criminal activity.
Violation of the conditions can lead to the revocation of the bond. Depending on the severity of the violation, judges will sometimes give second and third chances for defendants who violate. For other violations, the bond gets revoked right away. New criminal charges virtually always lead to a revocation.
Jail Release FAQ
Q1: How long will it take for my friend or loved one to get out of jail?
The wait for a jail release can vary greatly depending on several factors, such as the type of charge, the nature of the bond, and even the specific county. In Travis County, since a magistrate is on the bench 24/7, it is possible in most cases for an after-hours jail release on PR bond. This is not the case in all counties, though, and in some cases, you might have to wait until morning to be released.
Q2: Should I hire an attorney or a bondsman?
The decision to hire an attorney or a bail bondsman depends on the specifics of your situation. An attorney can provide legal advice and guide you through the legal process, which a bondsman cannot do. Also, an attorney can waive magistration and speed up the process. A bondsman’s services might be less expensive, but that is not always the case. It’s important to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of both options before making your decision.
Q3: I have a warrant. Can I do a walk-through without a lawyer?
In Travis County, you can no longer do a walk-through without an attorney. Having a criminal defense attorney will almost certainly expedite the process by 48 hours or more. The attorney can also provide you with valuable legal counsel regarding your warrant and any potential charges.
Q4: How can I help speed up release of my family members?
To expedite your family member’s release, you may want to consider contacting Pre-trial services. These services work to gather necessary information and assess the defendant’s eligibility for release. By communicating with them, in many cases you can help ensure the necessary documents are in order and any preconditions for release are met promptly, thereby possibly speeding up the release process.
Contact An Experienced Austin Jail Release Attorney
If your family member has been arrested, every minute in the Travis County Jail seems like an eternity. Get your friend or family members released from jail sooner by making your first call to ATX Legal. We have extensive experience and offer 24/7 jail release in from the Travis County jail.
For other Texas counties, please call during business hours. If you or a loved one has been arrested on a criminal case, contact a trusted Austin jail release lawyer to get personal attention and secure a quick and effective release so you can get your life back to normal.