Writs of Habeas Corpus
Today we’re going to cover Writs of Habeas Corpus. There are several reasons to file a writ of habeas corpus. The one we primarily see in our practice is to set a bond for a person who is being held in jail without bail. Normally in Dallas County this comes up when somebody is being held in a suburban jail which doesn’t have a judge round the clock to set bail. If you have somebody who has just been arrested and taken to a suburban jail, you may have been told they’ll have to see a judge in the morning before you can bond them out. What many jailers fail to mention is that often you can hire a lawyer to get a bond set so they will not have to wait overnight to see a judge. This is called a “writ” or “writ bond.” Writs can be done on most misdemeanors and felonies. There are some cases for which writs the cannot be done such as assault family violence and DWI 2nd. But despite these exceptions, bonds can still be set via a writ on regular assaults and 1st DWI’s.
In most cases, it is illegal to hold a person without setting bond. There are exceptions, but for most new arrests the arrested person is entitled to have a bond set. However, many suburban jails manage arraignments of new inmates by having a judge come to the jail in the morning to set bonds. Typically a judge will come in each day and arraign the new prisoners. The problem is that leaves people sitting in custody with no bonds set and no way to secure their own release. The writ process gives attorneys and their clients a sort of safety valve for this problem. But it’s only a safety valve if people know to ask about it. We find many people aren’t aware they can hire a lawyer to shortcut the jail release process. Their friends or family members end up having to spend the night in jail waiting for the judge to come arraign them and set their bond. Unfortunately, that overnight stay can cost them their jobs or cause other problems. We help our clients avoid this by giving them the ability to get their person bonded out quickly.
For misdemeanor cases in Dallas County, we know the bonds are preset at $500. In Collin County they can be higher or lower depending on the charge. Felonies vary according to many factors, including criminal history and the seriousness of the offense. Judges and magistrates in Dallas County use a bond schedule which gives them a range of amounts they can use for various charges. Many times the magistrate at Lew Sterrett will also contact the arresting agency for more information about the offense.
Please keep in mind that writs cannot be done for people in Lew Sterrett because they have a magistrate on site around the clock to arraign inmates. The contrary is true of people held in Collin County jail. In Collin County, writs can be done either while they remain in the suburban jails or after they’ve been transferred to Collin County (as long as they have not already been arraigned.)
Call us with all your jail release needs and questions. But certainly, if you have a friend or family member in custody with no bond set, call us to see if we can help you get a bond set quickly to secure their release.