Steps After Being Arrested

by Martin Miller

Being arrested, or having a loved one arrested, is one of the most stressful and frightening things that you could imagine. I want to provide you with some steps to assist you should you need to help a friend, coworker or family member get out of jail. First, locate which jail facility this person has been transported to. For example, Southlake, Keller, Westlake and Colleyville all use the Keller jail facility. Fort Worth utilizes the Mansfield jail facility.

Second, contact the jail with the person’s name and date of birth and ask whether or not the magistrate or judge has been contacted to set the bond amount. Keep in mind that the booking-in process can take time, depending on the facility. In some cases it can take up to a day for a person to be booked into jail and have a bond set by the judge.

For a first-time DWI with no contact with law enforcement, the bonds usually range from $500 to $1,500. But, I’ve seen a first-time DWI bond set as high as $5,000.

Third, contact a bail bonding agency with the person’s name, date of birth and bond amount if set, and inquire about an estimate. Typically, the price to bond someone out of jail should be around d 15–20 percent of the bond amount. If the bond set is high, you could contact a criminal defense attorney to request a bond reduction. Some criminal defense attorneys have the ability to post attorney bonds for their clients as well.

You may not need to contact a bail bonding company if the arrestee wants to post a cash bond or is going to sign a Personal Recognizance (PR) bond. Jails allow people to bond themselves out of jail using a credit card or by having someone post a cash bond. There is also a bond called a Personal Recognizance bond that some jails offer depending on the severity of the case. A PR bond is an agreement stating that the arrestee agrees to check into the criminal court on a specified date.

For juveniles, there is a different procedure. If your child (ages 10–16) has been arrested, the police department occasionally notifies the parent to come pick up the child at the police station, or the police department would transport the child to the local juvenile detention facility. You cannot post bond for juveniles. The juvenile judge is required to hold a detention hearing, and at least one family member should appear at the hearing. Contact the juvenile facility, court coordinator or the pre-court probation officer assigned to your child’s case to inquire about the hearing date. The juvenile detention facilities do have visiting hours, so call the facility to obtain that information as well.

After bonding out of jail, the police department forwards the case information to the local district attorney’s criminal intake division and the assistant district attorney will decide whether or not to file a case on behalf of the state of Texas. Depending on the county, criminal cases are filed within 60 or 90 days. But I have seen cases that have taken more than a year before they were filed.