I have a JP who is requiring a surety bond when a person wants to plead not guilty on speeding tickets, etc. The surety bond is twice the amount of whatever the fine is for the alleged offense. I don't think this JP can do this. I need both barrels loaded when I confront the JP. Any ideas ASAP would be greatly appreciated.
Sorry this is not definite:
TEXAS PRACTICE SERIES TM
VOLUME 41. CRIMINAL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE
CHAPTER 16. RELEASE PENDING COURT APPEARANCE
C. PRETRIAL RELEASE OF BAILABLE DEFENDANTS
1. TYPES OF RELEASE AND TERMINOLOGY
� 16.47 Release Without Bond
Traditionally, Texas law did not provide for pretrial release simply upon the defendant's promise to appear for later proceedings. As a result of 1989 legislation, limited and confusing authority exists for such release.
Article 15.17(c) now provides that a magistrate may release a defendant "without bond" if all of the following requirements are met:
1. the defendant is charged with a misdemeanor punishable by fine only;
2. the defendant has not been previously convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor punishable by incarceration; and
3. the magistrate has identified the defendant "with certainty." FN1
Confusingly, the authority to so release a defendant appears to apply only if the magistrate orders the defendant to appear for later arraignment in a county court or statutory county court. Thus it seems inapplicable to a situation in which the defendant is presented before a municipal court judge or a justice of the peace upon a charge of a class C misdemeanor that will later be processed in the municipal or justice court. FN2
�� 16.48-16.50 are reserved for supplementary material.
FN1 Vernon's Ann. C. Cr. P. art. 15.17(c).
FN2 A municipal judge apparently tried to follow the statutory scheme by "transferring" a case to county court for arraignment in Hicks v. State, 1997 WL 404273 (Tex.App.--San Antonio 1997) (per curiam) (not designated for publication) (conviction in county court on plea of guilty reversed because county court had no basis for exercise of jurisdiction after the purported transfer).
CA Hansford County
Is this the JP's way to encourage guilty pleas, reflect his/her desire to aid local bondsmen, or is your jail vacant?
If the suspect has secured his initial release under 543.005 and then conformably appears to enter his plea of not guilty, on what basis can the court then demand an appearance bond? What triggers the hearing under art. 17.25 or art. 17.05 at that point? I am under the impression many JP's utilize the practice you describe, but I have wondered for years if their commitment was not void. Seems to me the legislature adopted a policy of not threatening jail for non-jailable offenses, even if the defendant wants to challenge the allegation. Obviously, if one is arrested on a warrant, then bail can be set in relation to the warrant at the time it is issued. But we are talking about a situation where no warrant is issued, and thus 15.17 appears inapplicable.
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