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Does New Texas Bail Law Treat Poorer Defendants Unfairly?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Midland Texas Criminal Defense LawyerIn many criminal cases in Texas, when a person is arrested and charged with a crime, the judge will allow that person to be released on a personal bond, which means there is no collateral or deposit required. The defendant promises the court they will appear for all hearings regarding their case. They also are required to abide by all restrictions the court puts in place, as well as pay a personal bond fee within so many days following their release.

But that could all change for many defendants. Earlier this month, Governor Greg Abbot signed a new cash bail into law. The new law, which goes into effect on December 2, 2021, will make it more difficult for those accused of violent crimes to be released on bail while awaiting trial.

SB 6 - the Damon Allen Act

The new law was named after Texas State Trooper Damon Allen who was killed in the line of duty. In 2017, on Thanksgiving Day, Trooper Allen stopped a vehicle on Interstate 45 in Fairfield, Texas. As he was walking back to his patrol vehicle, the man he stopped fatally shot him with a rifle. The man accused of killing the trooper had a prior conviction of assaulting a police officer, and at the time of the shooting was out on $15,000 bond for new charges of aggravated assault on an officer and evading arrest.

Under the new law, any person who is charged with a violent crime will no longer be able to be released on personal bond while awaiting trial. Instead – despite the presumption of innocent until proven guilty – a defendant will only be released if they post cash bail. The new law will also prohibit cashless release for any defendants who are arrested on felony charges if they were already out on bond because of violent crime charges.

While supporters of the new law say it is needed as a way to stop violent criminals from being released only to commit crimes again, opponents of the law say it is disproportionately unfair to lower-income defendants, pointing out that anyone arrested for a violent crime who has access to funds and can post cash bail is still allowed to be released while awaiting trial.

Contact a Midland, TX Criminal Lawyer

If you have been arrested and charged with a violent crime, you need a skilled and aggressive Austin, TX criminal defense attorney defending you and ensuring your rights are protected. Call Morales Law Office, Attorneys at Law, PLLC. at 512-474-2222 today to schedule a free consultation and find out how our law firm can help.



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