One of the many aspects of criminal cases in Texas, including DWI, involves the bonding of someone accused of a crime. This was exemplified in a recent story involving someone accused of DWI and intoxication manslaughter in February. The case came from El Paso, Texas where the police force is known for strict and tough DWI enforcement.
The defendant in this case is accused of killing a pedestrian in late February of 2017. According to court documents, the man ran over a stop sign after losing control of his vehicle. The stop sign fell over a pedestrian, killing her instantly. Soon after arriving on the scene, the police began an investigation into DWI, starting with a field sobriety test of the driver.
According to police and media reports, the man failed a field sobriety test and then refused to take a breathalyzer to find out what his BAC was. It was then when the police arrested him and charged him with DWI and intoxication manslaughter. Soon after he was put in front of a judge who set his bail at $75,000. According to the reports, he met the bail and is now out on bond.
Saying someone is out on bond is another way of saying that they are free, but bound to return to court to answer a charge. What binds a person is the money put forward as bail to the court guaranteeing a person return and answer the charge, or forfeit the sum of money put forward. In this case the man accused of DWI and intoxication manslaughter had to post a bail bond of $75,000.
Judges are in charge of setting the amounts and types of bond in a case. The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits a judge from imposing an excessive bond in any criminal case, but at the same time judges are given wide latitude in deciding what a bond should be. As an aside, judges themselves whether appellate or trial determine what constitutes excessive bail, so it is not an entirely objective system.
Once bail is set by the judge, a person has several options of how to pay it. The easiest option, if available, is to post the bond personally through cash, bank accounts, property, or other means. Another method is to have a bail bond company post the bail for a fee. Typically it is 10% of the actual bond. Once the trial is over the company keeps the fee, so it is better in most cases to post the bond personally, if possible.
If the person posting bond fails to appear at court when required, then the bail is forfeited to the court, and the person still faces charges. Not only that, but there will most likely be additional charges made because of the failure to appear. So, as you can see, this is not a system favoring the defendant in many ways.
If you are accused of committing a DWI, there are many questions like those about bail bonds you will have. Who you turn to for answers will be one of the biggest and most important decisions you make. As you consider which attorney will represent you, take into account things like experience, talent, and ability.
At The Wilder DWI Defense Firm our entire legal team is dedicated to providing the best DWI defense available to our clients. If you are facing a DWI contact us, and we will provide you with a free consultation about your rights and options.