When defendants cannot make bail, sometimes they need to seek a bond reduction concerning the pending charges against them. This can occur somewhat frequently, as bail can typically only be paid in cash.
The first step in seeking a bond reduction is to work with your criminal defense attorney to file a motion—typically a “motion for bond reduction” or “writ of habeas corpus”—to lower the bail. You and your attorney may also need to file additional motions to continue to lower the bail to a reasonable amount; for example, 10 percent of the original amount in order to ensure that you are able to get out of jail. Whether or not a judge approves additional bail reductions depends upon the circumstances of the case and prosecutor’s actions.
Steps to Filing & Obtaining Bond Reduction
The procedural steps involved in obtaining a bond reduction typically include:
- Filing the motion, which includes, at a minimum, a statement summarizing the current bail amount, the nature of the charges, and an explanation of why the defendant cannot make bail;
- Possibly including prior findings in order to support your statement of indigency, such as any court orders appointing counsel due to the defendant’s financial circumstances, bank records, copies of payroll, etc.;
- Contacting the court to set a hearing date once filed, as well as strategizing, with your attorney, on what evidence you want to introduce at the hearing.
Requirements for Bond Reduction & the Hearing
It cannot be emphasized enough just how important it is for you and your attorney to come up with a very specific strategy as to what you want to present at your bond reduction hearing. Your attorney will likely advise you not to take the stand, but if you do, it is especially important that you have a specific strategy in mind as to what you want to present and discuss. Oftentimes, defendants will ask friends or relatives to testify on their behalf, and introduce records such as bank statements to support the contention that they do not have the funds to post the current bond amount.
Keep in mind that an inability to pay is not always enough for a bond reduction; in Texas, you must also demonstrate that you have made some effort to post the current bond, and one option to demonstrate this is to rely on the testimony of your friend or relative, or even the bondsmen.
Texas Bond Reduction Attorneys
If you have been charged with a crime, your bail could be set at an overwhelming amount, such as $25,000. Making bail and being released is crucial in order to properly build your defense with your attorney.