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DWI Attorney Houston, Texas
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Under Tex. Const. art. I, § 11(a) you are guaranteed the right to bond, except in limited circumstances.

Can the criminal court deny bail?

Yes, but denial of bail is limited.  Bail may be temporarily denied in the following situations:

1)  Habitual Status – in other words you are accused of a felony and you have been previously convicted of 2 felonies.  In order for the habitual status to attach, the 2nd must have occurred after the first.

2)  New Felony + On Bond for Felony – this is where you are on bond for a felony offense and are accused of committing a new felony.

3)  Deadly Weapon + Prior Felony Conviction – If you are accused of a crime involving a deadly weapon and have a prior felony conviction, bail may be temporarily denied.

4)  New Violent or Sexual Offense + on Felony Probation or Parole – If you are accused of a violent or sexual felony and are on felony probation or parole, you may be temporarily denied bail.

If the Judge denies me bail are there remedies?

Yes.  To start there is the 7 day rule.  This rule requires the court to hold a bond hearing, rule, sign, and enter the order denying bail within 7 days of the arrest.  If the court fails to do so, jurisdiction is lost to deny bail.  In other words if an order is signed outside the 7 day window, you can’t be denied bail.

There is also the 60 day rule.  This rule requires any order denying bail to be set aside if 60 days have passed, the accused has not been brought to trial, and no continuances have been sought.

There is also the “release because of delay” exception explained below.

A Motion Requesting Bail can be filed by your criminal defense attorney challenging violations of either the 7 day rule or 60 day rule.  This motion is also used to challenge additional legal violations regarding bail and can be directly appealed to the highest Texas criminal court, the Court of Criminal Appeals.

A Writ of Habeas Corpus may also be filed by your defense attorney if bail is denied for any reason other than those listed above.

REMEDIES IF BAIL DENIED (non capital criminal offenses)

What to File

Potential Challenges

File – Motion Requesting Bail
  • Not accused of a “no-bail” offense;
  • Hearing not held w/in 7 days from arrest;
  • State did not satisfy its burden of proof;
  • Trial court’s order was not in writing;
  • More than sixty (60) days has passed and D has not been brought to trial.
File – Writ of Habeas Corpus If bail is denied for any reason beyond those listed above (i.e. underTex. Const. art. 1, § 11(a)).

The Judge set bail, but it is high, what can be done?

If you are bail eligible (and you will be in most instances), the United States and Texas Constitution protect you from excessive and oppressive bond amounts.  If the judge sets bond at an unreasonable amount a Writ of Habeas Corpus should be filed and heard.  Such things that should be argued by your criminal attorney and considered by the court are:

  • Nature of the accusation and potential sentence;
  • Ability of the accused to make bail;
  • Future safety of the victim and community;
  • Family and community ties of accused;
  • Length of residency;
  • Work record;
  • Prior criminal record, if any,
  • Conformity with conditions of any previous bonds;
  • Outstanding bonds, if any;
  • Aggravating circumstances in the charged offense;
  • Accused’s level of culpability versus co-defendants or co-conspirators (i.e what was your role).

Tex. Code. Crim. Proc. art. 17.15

A Motion to Reduce Bond can also be filed, but unlike the Writ of Habeas Corpus it is not appealable.

REMEDIES IF SEEKING BAIL REDUCTION IN CRIMINAL COURT

What to File

Potential Challenges

File – Writ of Habeas Corpus
  • At hearing – see C.C.P. art. 17.15 factors;
  • Plus accused must show he has made an unsuccessful attempt to post bail in the previous amount (this is often accomplished by a bondsman testifying).
  • Accused must show his funds are exhausted.
Can File – Motion to Reduce Bond

There are additional remedies under the law.  For example, you must be released either by personal bond or by reducing the amount of bail if the government is not ready for trial within certain time periods.  This exception is known as “release because of delay”.  If you are charged with a felony the time period is 90 days from the arrest.  If you are charged with a misdemeanor the time period is between 5 – 30 days depending on the offense level.  An offense punishable by fine only (Class C) has a time period of 5 days.  An offense punishable up to 180 days in jail (Class B) has a waiting period of 15 days.  Lastly, an offense punishable 180+ days has a waiting period of 30 days.

The “release because of delay” does not apply if: you are in prison for another offense already; if you have an additional accusation or charge and the time period for that offense has not yet run; or if you have been found incompetent to stand trial.

My bond was revoked, can the court do that?

Yes, however, the court must have a hearing and “good cause” must be shown before a bond revocation will be upheld.

General Criminal Bond Schedule:

*Note: this is only a general bond schedule, there are a number of factors that determine whether bail will be given and the amount.  In most situations the accused has a Constitutional Right to bail.

Capital Felonies……………………………………….No Bond
All Murders not specified below………………..$50,000
All First Degrees not specified below…………$20,000
All Second Degrees not specified below……..$10,000
All Felony DWIs not specified below………….$10,000
All Third Degrees not specified below………..$5,000
All State Jail Felonies not specified below…..$2000

Repeat Offenders

Habitual (2+ prior Felony convictions)………No Bond
First Degree Felony with prior conviction…..$30,000
Second Degree Felony with prior conviction.$20,000
Felony DWI w/ prior felony DWI conviction.$double for each prior fel. DWI
Third Degree w/ previous conviction………….$10,000
State Jail Felony w/ previous conviction……..$5000
State Jail w/ 1+ previous convictions………….$15,000

Already on Bail + New Offense Committed

First/Second/Third/State Jail…………………..No Bond

Other Situations

Multiple Counts………………………………………see each offense
Felony Probation + New Felony Offense……No Bond
Any 3(g) offense w/ deadly weapon…………..$30,000
Undocumented person…………………………….$35,000
Motion to Revoke Probation…………………….No Bond
Motion to Adjudicate Guilt………………………No Bond
Large quantities of controlled substance……double value
Large quantities of stolen property……………double value