On this last day of 2013, we hope that you all have a safe and happy evening celebrating and bring in the new year. Of course we want to remind you not to get behind the wheel if you have been drinking. We also want to advise you that the police will be hitting the streets hard tonight through January 2, 2014- targeting drunk drivers and those they suspect may be drunk. Make you sure you explore the site and learn your rights as a driver. The police will be using tactics tonight to make a case against anyone they stop whether they are drunk or not, so beware.
Help! I’ve gone to jail and can’t get out! If you are arrested, make sure you and your friends or family know the process of helping you get out of jail. Getting yourself out of jail may not sound like something you have a lot of control over. It is more likely to seem like a location, where once you arrive, you are at the will and pleasure of the county staff. Unfortunately this is pretty much true. The one thing that will make your trip to the County Inn & Suites (local jail) easier to bear is being prepared. Of course, many people maintain the mindset of “why do I need to be prepared when I will never be going to jail” – the thought of why prepare for jail when I am not a criminal. Unfortunately, as much as we want that mindset to be true, it is not. Everyday innocent people are arrested, and have gone to jail, and post bond only to have their case dismissed months later. Although from an outsiders perspective it may seem like the authorities successfully determined which case to drop; the other side of the coin shows that an individual was needlessly taken to jail.
First, what do you do if you are taken to jail? The first opportunity you have call qualified legal counsel. This is the best first step because if you already have a relationship with that attorney (this doesn’t mean you have needed an attorney in the past) that attorney may have the ability to post your bond or, if he or she does not, the attorney can begin arranging a bond with a bond company and act as the go between for your family and friends and the bond company.
And not any attorney will be able to get your problem dealt with quickly and efficiently. You need to save our information to your cell phone and have it written down by the home phone in case someone at the house is in charge of getting you out of jail. This is especially important if a group of friends is going out on the town. A well thought out plan in place before the emergency is always best.
Each bail bond company will have its own set of rules and procedures specific to that company. But remember that they are all under the control of the local Bail Bond Committee (or some similar name made up from the courts and law enforcement community). It is wise to be aware of a specific bail bond company to use before you need them. You need to know what they specifically need for you to provide in order to agree to act as your surety in the case and write your bond. There may be banking or credit information needed that isn’t available in the middle of the night.
Second, once the bond is arranged it must delivered to the jail. By delivering the bond paperwork to the jail the release process can begin right away. The release process includes entering the bond information in the system used by the jail to maintain records. This process also notifies the courts of what bonding company posted your bond. The bonding company is responsible for insuring your appearance in future court proceedings. That company will put restrictions on you and require you to perform certain actions to maintain the surety for your release.
Third, what if you cannot post bond? You may be eligible for a personal recognizance bond (P.R. bond). If given a PR bond you will sign paperwork stating that you promise to appear at all future court settings. In exchange for a PR bond many counties, including Bexar County, will require you to report on a regular basis to a Pre-Trial Services office. Pre-Trial services can require you to submit to drug tests, go through classes, or place other conditions on your bond that will not go away until your case is resolved. In many instances this is akin to being on probation before any determinations have been made about your case. We generally advise our clients to use a bail bond company to avoid the supervision of the Criminal Justice system.
Although less expensive in the beginning a PR bond can put undue hardships on many of you and end up costing more than a bail bond company. In many cases your attorney can have a judge give permission to have a commercial or attorney bond in place of your PR bond. This may do away with many of the reporting and restrictive requirements of the PR bond.
The bottom line is that qualified legal counsel may help determine whether or not your jail experience is a painless as possible. As always, be prepared before you need the help. Make sure your family and friends are aware of how to get in touch with our law offices in case the unthinkable happens. We will help walk you through getting your loved one out of jail as quickly as possible. Call our highly skilled attorneys to talk more about these issues. And always have our phone numbers handy for an emergency.
Our offices numbers are 512-278-0935 (ATX) and 210-394-3833 (SATX) and are answered 24/7/365 to help you when you need it most. Hopefully, you won’t have to experience going to jail, but if you do, remember who to call to get you out!