Domestic violence is a serious crime in Texas, and the amount of bond that is set for a domestic violence charge can vary depending on the severity of the offense. In this blog post, we will discuss the factors that go into determining the amount of bond for domestic violence in Texas, as well as the average bond amounts for different types of domestic violence offenses.
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Domestic Violence Defined
In Texas, domestic violence is defined as an act by a member family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault. It also includes reasonable threats of violence as well. “Dating” violence is similar to family violence, but the act or threat of violence is directed against someone with whom the offender shared a dating relationship rather than a family or household member.
Domestic violence is a serious crime in Texas. Depending on the circumstances, a person arrested for domestic violence in Texas could be charged with a misdemeanor or felony offense. A guilty verdict could result in fines, jail time, or both.
Posting Bond for Domestic Violence in Texas
A bail bond is a contract between the court and the defendant in a criminal case: the court agrees to release the defendant from custody as long as the defendant agrees, in writing, to appear before the court when summoned.
Before they can be released to await their trial, a defendant often must pay a bail bond to ensure they will appear in court when ordered to do so. If the defendant shows up for court when they are asked to do so, the bail bond paid will be returned to them. If not, they lose the money they paid for bail and will probably have a warrant issued for their arrest.
Under Texas law, a magistrate must decide to grant a defendant bond with or without conditions, or deny them bail, no later than 48 hours after their arrest. In some circumstances, state law allows a person charged with domestic violence in Texas to be held without bail. If bail is denied, it must be done in accordance with the Texas State Constitution and other laws.
Factors That Affect How Much Bond Is for Domestic Violence Charges in Texas
The amount of bail and any conditions of bail are regulated by the court, judge, magistrate, or officer taking the bail. Under Section 17.15 of Title 1 ”BAIL” of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, the following factors are considered when setting the amount to bond in a domestic violence case:
- Ensuring compliance with the court’s orders. Bail is set at a sufficient amount to ensure the defendant complies with the court’s orders and conditions, including appearing before the court at an ordered date and complying with any court-imposed restrictions.
- Bail is not being used as an instrument of oppression. While the amount of bail shall be sufficient to ensure the defendant complies with the court’s order, it should still be fair and reasonable. Both state and federal laws prevent the courts from using excessive bail to unjustly detain a defendant.
- The nature of the offense and the circumstances under which the offense was committed. The severity of the offense, the harm or potential harm to the victim, the weapon used, and other aggravating factors are taken into account. Generally, the courts assign higher bail amounts in cases that involve assault and other acts of violence.
- The defendant’s ability to make bail. The court will consider the defendant’s economic situation when determining the amount of bail. The amount of bail should be enough to ensure compliance but not so high that the defendant is forced to remain in custody.
- The future safety of the victim. This is especially important in cases involving domestic violence. In determining the bail amount, the court will assess the risk the defendant poses to the victim. Bail can be set at a higher amount or even denied if the court has reason to believe the defendant will cause further harm to the victim if released from custody.
- The defendant’s criminal history. In almost any criminal case, a defendant’s criminal history will play a major factor in setting a bond. The court will look at previous charges, pending charges, and the likelihood of committing new crimes if released on bail. Bail could be denied and the defendant returned to custody if the crime was committed while the defendant was out on bail for another crime.
- Citizenship status may also be considered. While not the sole factor for determining bail, the court may consider citizenship status, such as the risk of flight or the defendant’s availability for court appearances. The amount of bail set will be higher if the court considers the defendant to be at risk of flight to another country to avoid charges.
In these situations, the defendant’s ties to the community are taken into consideration as well. If the defendant has a strong support system in the community, such as a job, a home, and family members who will ensure that the defendant appears in court, the bond amount will generally be lower.
Average Bond Amounts for Domestic Violence Offenses in Texas
The average bond amounts for different types of domestic violence offenses in Texas are as follows:
- Misdemeanor domestic assault: $500-$2,000
- Felony domestic assault: $5,000-$50,000
- Aggravated domestic assault: $10,000-$100,000
It’s important to remember that these are general ranges. If you’ve been arrested on a domestic violence charge, the bond amount will be based on the various factors outlined earlier in this article.
Speak to a Houston Domestic Abuse Lawyer About Your Case
If you have been arrested for domestic violence in Texas, you must speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Houston domestic violence lawyer Lisa Shapiro Strauss is here to protect your rights. A former County DA turned criminal defense attorney, Lisa can help you understand the charges against you, the potential bond amount, and your options for defending yourself.
Everybody is innocent until proven guilty. Depending on the circumstances in your case, there may be many defense strategies that could result in reduced charges or even acquittal. Contact the law office of Lisa Shapiro Struass at (713) 429-7310 to schedule a free, initial consultation with an experienced assault family violence lawyer.