The Fight to Change the Dallas County Bail System
A Look at Dallas County Bail
Many critics argue Dallas County needs an urgent bail reform. Magistrates set a bond based on factors such as the seriousness of the charges and the defendant’s prior criminal history. Other crucial factors, such as the defendant’s ability to pay and the security risk they pose, go by the wayside. Proponents of bail reform argue this system needs to change. They argue considering the defendant’s ability to pay and using better risk assessment tools can lift the burden on the poor and keep higher-risk offenders behind bars.
An Oppressive Approach
With the current approach, financial resources are all that separates those who have to wait in jail until trial and those who can be released and return home to their family. Accordingly, some critics argue the Dallas County bail system is used as an instrument of oppression. They call for a more holistic assessment of the defendant, which could result in fairer bond setting practices. Such a reform would come at the cost of time and personnel resources. And many argue lowering bond amounts will only work to put more dangerous criminals on the street. The fatal shooting of Dallas police officer Rogelio Santander in April revived this debate. Santander was shot and killed by Armando Juarez, a man who had released from Dallas County jail on bond but had a warrant for his arrest. Juarez had been released on bond several times for low-risk offenses, but his pattern of failing to appear in court and reoffending could have been red flags under a reformed bail system.
Is There a Solution?
Bail reform would involve time and money, but if executed effectively, could let lower-risk defendants return to their families while keeping those with a clear propensity to reoffend behind bars. The reach of this problem extends to Harris County, too, which was recently subject to a civil suit brought on by inmates to demand fairer bail. A federal ruling favoring the plaintiffs shed light on the imbalance of justice of a bail system with such ridged determining factors. Now Dallas County faces the same type of suit brought on by inmates who claim the bail system is unconstitutional and discriminatory against the poor. While some accused individuals, no matter the risk, cannot afford to buy their way out of jail, others have the financial resources to walk free.
Call a Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney if You Have Been Arrested
Navigating the immediate steps following an arrest in Dallas County can be overwhelming and stressful. Calling a Dallas criminal defense attorney after an arrest is the best way to ensure you can return to your family as soon as possible. An attorney who is familiar with the Dallas County bail system can explore your options for reducing your bond, so you don’t have to work with a bail bond company. Bail bond companies cannot defend your rights or provide any legal assistance. Conversely, an attorney might be able to release you from jail without having to post the full bail amount and can promptly get started on fighting your charges.
If you’ve been arrested for a crime and need a legal advocate in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action to minimize the consequences of your charge. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.