If you didn’t already hear, Senate Bill Six in Harris, Fort Bend, and Brazoria Counties affects how the bail system will work going forward. Last month, on September 13, 2021, Governor Abbott signed Senate Bill 6 into law. The intention of this law is to reform our state’s bail system.
Before the Governor signed the bill, some courts could release you on a personal bond, regardless of your charge. By definition, a personal bond is an agreement with the court to follow all the conditions they set. Once it’s in place, you’ll sign a contract with the state that says you’ll appear in court at the agreed time and avoid breaking the law. Once you sign, they’ll release you, and you won’t have to pay bail.
The court usually only posts this type of bond when the judge considers you a low-flight risk. In simpler terms, it means you’re more likely to actually show up for your hearing on the day of. So is there a penalty for backing out of your personal bond’s contract? Yes, you’re fully liable for the original bail bond amount if you don’t show up.
How does the judge determine if you’re eligible for a personal bond? They’ll determine it from your stability in your community, the seriousness of the original charge, and any potential danger to public safety. In some cases, they may stipulate a GPS ankle monitor or routine drug testing as conditions for your bail.
However, the signing of Senate Bill Six changes how that works in Texas.
How It Works Now
One of the main clauses of Senate Bill Six eliminates personal bonds for people arrested for violent offenses. For example, the court won’t release those in for assault charges without paying a cash bond. While previously, it was possible for the court to release them on a personal bond, which doesn’t require paying anything.
For most Texas counties, your ability to post cash determines your release or not. However, some counties (particularly Harris County after they suffered losses in the Federal Court) will decide to release people accused of low-level crimes on personal bonds instead. Instead, judges must now get more judicial training, collect data, and consider your criminal history before setting bail.
Alongside that, two other significant clauses the new bill includes are new rules for setting the amount of bail and limits how charitable organizations can bail people out.
This senate bill has two main goals: protecting public safety and making sure defendants actually show up to their court hearings.
Contacting a Bondsman
In Texas, almost every citizen has the constitutional right to be released from jail on bail. Of course, the exceptions are those in jail for capital murder, repeat felonies, or bail violations. If you find yourself or a loved one in jail, you can call us for help on what to do. Or, if you have any questions regarding Senate Bill Six in Harris, Fort Bend, and Brazoria Counties, we at ASAP Bail Bonds will try to answer.