My son is in jail. What next?
I’ve had a few phone calls on the weekends from panic stricken mothers. You can hear the fear in their voices. Some are about to burst into tears. Before they even start to tell me what happened, I can guess that someone got arrested.
I always ask for the person’s name and relationship to the person who was arrested before we start talking about details. Usually the person on the other end of the line is a concerned parent and the one arrested is their son. It almost always starts out with my name is _________ and my son got arrested.
Parents, mothers especially, want to get their children out of jail as soon as possible. Jail can be a frightening place with people who have committed much more serious crimes than your son. Leaving them in there even a minute longer than necessary can be nerve racking.
After someone is arrested in Texas, they’re usually taken to the police station and/or jail for booking. Once they’re “booked” and their information is added to the system, they will go in front of a Judge or Magistrate. The police will turn in their report saying your son committed a crime and include details to show what crime was committed, and how it was committed.
The Magistrate will then call your son and tell him the charge against him, tell him his rights, and set the bail amount. Bail amount is the main thing people focus on. The purpose of bail is to make sure that the person arrested come to all court dates in the future. The more serious the crime, generally the higher the bail amount. For example, the bail amount for a first time DWI might be set at $5,000 and an assault with a deadly weapon may be set at $50,000. This is the amount of money the court will need to release your son. Your first step will usually be to call a Bail Bondsman.
How can you pay your bail? This usually comes in three flavors.
- Personal Recognizance Bond – This is where you pay a small amount of money and promise to come to court in the future.
- Cash Bond – This is where cash is paid for the full amount of bail. For example, if the bail is set at $5,000 then you will have to pay the full $5,000 directly to the court.
- Surety Bond – This is where a Bail Bondsman comes into the picture. A bail bondsman is someone who charges a percentage of the total bail due and vouches for the rest. For example, if bail is set at $10,000 usually bail bond companies will charge 10% – 15% of the $10,000. The bail bond company will accept $1,000 or $1,500 as the financing fee to get your son out of jail and then tell the Court that they’ll cover the rest if your son doesn’t show up in Court later on.
Most people can’t afford to pay a Cash Bond to the Court. Why? Most people don’t have thousands of dollars sitting under their couch cushions. Personal Recognizance Bonds or “PR” Bonds may be rarely offered especially if there is a good chance your son my leave the county or state unexpectedly. Surety Bonds allow you to pay the Bail Bondsman a percentage of the bail so that you can get your son out. If the bail amount is set very high, a lawyer may be able to convince a Judge to lower it.
Bail Bondsman usually have regular check ins to make sure that your son is doing what he needs to be doing as far as staying out of trouble and going to court dates. Some Bail Bondsman allow you to check in by email, phone, or text. Make sure to keep checking in so that the Bail Bondsman knows your son hasn’t disappeared. If your son doesn’t keep checking in, the Bail Bondsman can ask to have your son revoked and take back their bond that was filed with the Court.
After you get your son out of jail, call a Georgetown criminal defense lawyer to talk about your son’s case. It’s important to get started early while all the details are fresh in his head. Also, the sooner I can get started working on someone’s case, the sooner it can be put behind them.