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Bail Bonds Benefits at Risk With Dallas Bail Reform

 Posted on June 17, 2019 in Bail Bonds

Doc's Bail Bonds

Governor Greg Abbott called for statewide bail reform after Texas officer Damon Allen was killed in 2017. The man who killed Allen was previously convicted of assaulting an officer in 2015, as well as ramming into a deputy's vehicle two years later. For the first conviction, he served one year in jail. For the second conviction, he was released on a $15,500 bond, according to Smith County local news. However, the issue highlighted was the fact that the judge allowed bail. Because the man who killed Allen was clearly a risk to the public, he should not have been given the option. The judge who set the bail said he was unaware of the man's previous convictions.

The proposed bill—titled the Damon Allen Act—surfaces as several counties in Texas (as well as municipalities across the country) fight lawsuits challenging their existing bail practices. Harris County, which includes Houston, recently announced dramatic changes to its current bail practices. These specifically address its detainment of defendants accused of minor offenses.

RELATED: The Damon Allen Act: 2019 Bail Reform in Texas?

Benefits at Risk

As talks of bail reform continue in Dallas County, many benefits that local bondsman provide come into question. For example, local bondsman and reputable bail bond companies provide the community with helpful assets. Some of these include valuable information, legal advice, counseling, and first-hand experience with the Dallas court system.

Dallas residents also currently have access to traffic ticket bail bonds, which is another benefit of a bail bonds company. With bail reform, traffic ticket bonds are at risk of discontinuing.

Traffic ticket bail bonds allow individuals with expensive unpaid tickets—including arrest warrants—to lift their warrants and set a new court date without paying in full. With a traffic ticket bail bond, they only pay a small fee (10% of the total). After they do this, they're free to reschedule their court date. This allows them to pay off their fines at their own time, finance their unpaid tickets, lift their arrest warrants, and get back on track with the court system.

SEE: You Don't Have to Go to Jail With an Active Warrant... Here's How

Bail Bonds Save Money

Speaking of cash, using a bail bond company or bail bondsman saves you money. Currently, defendants in jail may be released by paying a small portion of their bond. Regardless of the bond amount, anyone can access a bail bondsman and get out of jail by only paying 10% of their total bond.

Without a bail bondsman, defendants deemed 'a risk' must remain in custody—and in jail—without having the option of bail. One of the major benefits of a bail bond is only paying 10% of your total bond for release. Once you're released, you must set a court date and show up on time. Once you meet all your court requirements, your bail money will be returned to you. Without this system, certain defendants will be forced to remain in jail.

RELATED: The 3 Ways to Get a Bail Bond... Without Cash

Questionable Bail System

Bail reform legislation in Dallas County highlights a risk assessment tool that determines whether or not a defendant can be released. This risk assessment tool is a points-based algorithm that measures the risk level of a given defendant. If a defendant has an extensive criminal history or has certain convictions that scores high on the risk assessment tool, they'll be denied bail.

If a judge feels that the defendant is a flight risk or dangerous to the public, they will also deny that defendant's ability to be released from jail—regardless of their crime. Currently, most defendants are able to access a bail bond and get out of jail to begin their path to recovery. However, many fear bail reform will target certain individuals and prevent them from ever getting the chance.

The proposed risk assessment tool—an algorithm that determines a given defendant's risk level—is far from perfect. Many Dallas residents—including attorneys and other legal professionals—have raised concerns regarding the algorithm's ability to discern safety. Many fear it will disproportionately target certain demographics, specifically the poor and people of color.

RELATED: Dallas's Potential Algorithm for Bail Bonds: What You Need to Know

Doc's Bail Bonds

With bail bond reform and the Damon Allen Act being a hot topic in the state of Texas and Dallas County, the future remains unclear. However, many locals are at risk of losing the benefits that bail bondsman provide. Doc's Bail Bonds of Dallas serves our community by offering free advice, consultations, and first-hand experience. To learn more about the benefits of using a bail bond company or to see how we can help you, click here or visit our office today.

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