Fort Bend Bail Bond Information and Frequently Asked Questions
Arrested in Fort Bend County
Being arrested can be an overwhelming experience. We understand the need to be bonded and released as soon as possible. However, the booking process is time consuming.
If arrested by a municipal police department, you may be taken to their station. There you will be booked into that jail temporarily before being transported to the Fort Bend County Jail in Richmond.
If arrested for tickets, a Class C misdemeanor, you may pay the fines or bond prior to being transported. If the offense is a Class B misdemeanor or greater, you will not be bondable until booked into the Fort Bend County Jail in Richmond.
Currently only the Bonding Division at the Sheriffs' Office can accept bonds for release. You must be booked in their jail before they can provide the required information to be typed on the bond. This may change in the future, but for now it is the only way.
Once transported, the booking procedures are repeated and the wait continues. Bonding Division must have the paperwork (packet), prior to accepting any bonds.
The process time varies depending on many factors. Shift changes, magistrate hearings and heavy work loads all play a role.
What is a Bail Bond
A bond is a monetary guarantee to appear in Court. In the event of a default (Fail to Appear) all parties are financially responsible.
Bail bond companies charge a fee - depending on the bail amount - to pay the total bail. Most bonds require a Cosigner to sign the bond(s) and Promissory Note to indemnify or pay the cost in the event of default - fail to appear. Therefore the Cosigner must meet certain financial criteria.
Also you should be aware of bond conditions. Both the Court and the Bonding Company will have specific bond conditions for the term of the bond or final disposition.
Example: The Court may require a defendant prior to a conviction, to submit to random alcohol/drug tests. This condition is administered and supervised by the probation department.
Bond conditions vary depending on the company. Reporting or check-ins, updating personal information, and obviously, court date resets.
Cosigner for Bail Bonds
Bonds require a Cosigner to sign the bond(s) and Promissory Note to indemnify or pay the cost in the event of default - "fail to appear". Therefore the Cosigner must meet certain financial criteria.
The contractual obligation to the county and court is a serious matter. If a default occurs, a civil lawsuit is filed by the county against all parties. The relationship between bonding company and co-signer is mutually vested. The qualification process is assessed according to each specific scenario. Because the criminal justice system is often intimidating and confusing, it is important the majority of young adults arrested have guidance and oversight. Reducing the potential mistakes while increasing damage control is an achievable goal.
Basic personal information is required and the ability to assume the financial responsiblity verified. The information is confidential not shared to third parties with the exception of debt collection procedures.
The information can be provided by phone or in form via email at Online Cosigner Application. Please call 281-341-9449 to begin the process prior to submitting application.
Fort Bend County Magistrate Hearings
Some criminal charges are ineligible for pre-set bond amounts. Example: If charged with Assault/Family Violence you would not qualify for a preset bond. A Magistrate or Judge is required to set the bond amount. Magistrate hearings occur daily at various times. This causes delays, sometimes even over night.
On view felony arrests must have a Magistrate set bond. The Fort Bend Jail Bonding Division is responsible for preparing the defendant docket. All files on the docket remain in the courtroom for the duration of the hearings. The files are returned and updated. The clerks are now able to provide the required bonding information and accept bonds.
Fort Bend County Bond Conditions
You should be aware of bond conditions. Both the court and the bonding company will have specific bond conditions for the term of the bond or final disposition.
The Court may attach conditions and revoke a bond in the event of non-compliance. The most common condition is for drug offenses. Requiring the defendant to "submit to random/alcohol drug tests". These tests are administered and supervised by the Probation Department.
Question: Is that condition a form of punishment, prior to conviction and an assumption of guilt? Perhaps, nonetheless our current state legislation allows it.
Another common condition probably more appropriately used, is for Assault/Family Violence. "The defendant must not have contact with the victim." Obvioulsy no one advocates spousal abuse, however an argument that leads to a 911 call will result in an arrest, even with the absence of physical injuries.
Question: Typically married couples live together, am I expected to move while this case is pending? Suddenly the argument over finances that caused the destruction of personal property will become more costly...Because you need a lawyer...
Some conditions need addressing prior to presenting a bond. Example: If a monitor is required you must first make arrangements with the Probation Department. This can include a deposit ($), must be done during business hours and before release.
A standard for bonding company conditions does not exist. It is reasonable to expect clients to be responsible, make all scheduled court appearances and provide the bonding company with updated information for the pendency of the case. The burden is on the Cosigner and Defendant to relate updated information. Find important Cosigner information explaining in length the contractual and financial obligations. We strive to treat each case on its own merits.
Fort Bend County Probation
The majority of cases result in a negotiated plea and probated sentences.
The upside to this practice is first-time offenders are usually eligible for Deferred Adjudication or Motion to Adjudicate Guilt. Essentially the equivalent to pleading no contest in traffic court. The logic is once successfully completing probation you have the right to expunge the record, this means you avoid a conviction.
The conditions of probation can include fees, community service, drug/alcohol tests and mandatory counseling. A Probation Officer is assigned your case and supervises your progress. Failure to comply may result in a Motion to Revoke Probation (MRP/MAG) and an arrest warrant.
As discussed in bond conditions, the Probation Department is also responsible for supervising certain bond conditions.