Texas Governor Greg Abbott called for statewide bail reform after officer Damon Allen was killed in 2017. The man who killed Allen was previously convicted of assaulting an officer in 2015, and ramming into a Smith County deputy’s car in 2017. He served one year in jail for the first conviction, and was released on a $15,500 bond for the second, according to local news. However, the judge who set the bail said he was unaware of the man’s previous convictions.
The proposed legislation, titled the Damon Allen Act, comes as several counties in Texas—as well as across the country—fight lawsuits challenging their bail practices. Harris County, which includes Houston, recently announced drastic changes to its bail practices, specifically targeting how it detains defendants accused of minor offenses.
Benefits of Bail Bonds
As bail reform talks continue in Dallas, many benefits of local bondsman and bail bond companies come into question. For instance, local bondsman and bail bond companies provide the community with valuable information such as legal advice, counseling, and experience with the court system.
Dallas residents also currently have access to traffic ticket bail bonds, which is another benefit at risk with bail reform. Traffic ticket bail bonds allow individuals with expensive unpaid tickets—including arrest warrants—to pay a small fee (10% of the total) and reschedule their court date. This allows them the benefit of financing their tickets, lifting their arrest warrants, and getting back on track with the court system.
Speaking of money, using a bail bond company or bail bondsman saves you cash. Without bail bondsman, you must pay the entire amount of a bond in order to be released from jail. However, with a bail bond, you only pay 10% of your total bond. Once you’re released and you meet all your court requirements, your money will be returned to you. Without this system, certain defendants will be forced to remain in jail.
Questionable Bail System
Bail reform talks in Dallas highlights certain risk assessments being made to determine whether or not a defendant can be released. If a judge feels that the defendant is a flight risk or dangerous to the public, they will deny that defendant’s ability to be released from jail—regardless of the crime. Currently, most defendants are able to access a bail bond and get out of jail to begin recovery. However, 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 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.
A-EZ Out Bail Bonds
With bail bond reform 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. To learn more about how a bail bonds company can help you, click here or visit our office today.