Super Bowl LI: Good decisions gone bad.
In case you live in a bubble, on February 5, 2017, Houston will host the 51st NFL Super Bowl. While the game will attract millions of worldwide viewers, it is the events leading up to the game that will draw the most attention. Houstonia Magazine has been running a feature, highlighting everything you need to know in preparation for Super Bowl LI. Perhaps more important than the parties is understanding what to do when the wheels come off during one. So if you or your mate’s motto is “bad decisions make for good stories”, keep reading.
First Quarter: 5th Amendment.
You didn’t plan on being out long, but you bumped into Johnny Football. Before long, you’re dropping your flag football college intramural stats. Next thing you know someone in his entourage hands you a shot. And another. And another. Time flies when you are partying with JFF and now it’s 2:00 AM. Uber is running 5X their normal rate and, besides, you feel invincible. You hop in your car to head home. It’s just a few blocks away, but valet turned your auto lights off and the eyes of Texas are now staring down upon you. Red and blue flashing lights appear in your rear-view mirror. Two officers approach your driver side window. “You had anything to drink tonight?”
You have the right to remain silent, but you also need the ability. Know that anything you say will be used against you. Remember two lines: “Am I free to leave?” If the answer is “yes”, leave. If the answer is “no”, then “I’d be happy to cooperate with my attorney present.” No more, no less.
You drop $250 for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to attend the Playboy Party. You’ve fallen in love eight times tonight, but the ninth time it’s for real. That is until some bro slides in on your wife-to-be. Words turn to insults. Insults turn to shoving. Unknown to your adversary, you’ve been trained by Miyagi Dojo and unleash a crane kick in the middle of the crowd. Of course, crane kicks are better suited for 1980s Hollywood, and yours lands on the face of wife-to-be number nine. “That’s assault Brotha” and the men in blue have taken notice. Walking away in cuffs, you get the attention of your buddy, “get me outta here.”
There are 2 ½ options for bail in Harris County:
(1) Post a Surety Bond: Contact a bonding agency or Harris County criminal defense attorney who will cover the bond for a fee of approximately 10-15% of the total bond, So if the bond was $20,000, you would pay $2000 to the bondsman and he would cover the total bond. The $2000 fee is non-refundable.
(2) Post a Cash Bond: If you post a Cash bond, you will pay 100% of the bond amount. For example, if the Bond is $500, you pay $500. If the bond is $10,000, you would pay $10,000. Once the person’s case is disposed of or complete, the amount posted will be refunded.
To post a cash bond:
- Go to the Jail Public Information Inquiry or call the Jail Information Line at 713-247-5400 / 713-837 – 0311 and type in the necessary information.
- Print the search result page or write down the person’s location, arrest number, name and date of birth.
- For any offense greater than a Class B Misdemeanor take cash along with your photo ID to 49 San Jacinto, Houston, TX 77002 (phone: 713-755-8040). Be prepared to wait in line.
(1/2) Hope for a Personal Recognizance (PR) Bond: a PR bond is where the person is released upon his or her own promise to appear. These bonds are reserved for low-level, low-risk persons with no criminal history. Neither a bondsman nor a cash bond is needed for release. While still unique in Harris County (hence the ½), these bonds are gaining traction.
Third Quarter: Appearing For Court
Bail has been posted, you have been processed and 6-8 hours later you are saying goodbye to your new jailhouse friends. You are dazed. You are confused. You are tired and you are hungry. If anything, keep track of your bond papers. On them, you will find your court number, court date, and court time. In Harris County, the court date could be as soon as the next day. Don’t be late for court, your bond may be revoked. Time to lawyer up.
Fourth Quarter: Odds and Ends
Phone Call: In jail, there will be phone access. If you receive a collect call, answer it and keep it simple. These phone calls are recorded. If the person in jail is calling your cell phone, you’ll need to set up an account at www.GTL.net in order for them to get through to you.
Vehicle Towed: If the person was arrested for an incident involving a car, it was likely towed away. Call the Wrecker tow line, 713-308-8580, or go to houstonpolice.Org, Find my Towed Car, where you can search by license plate and/or VIN number.
If you learn there is no bond (i.e. the person is on probation for another case, on bond for another case, violent charges, or the person is considered a flight-risk) contact a Harris County Criminal Defense Attorney, who will get a bond set (same advice applies if an extremely high bond is set).
Harris County Criminal Justice Map: