By Collin County Criminal Defense attorney Jeremy Rosenthal
(214) 724-7065 24-hour line
Often someone arrested in Collin County is told by the police or a jailer that they need a lawyer to file a “writ bond” to get a friend or loved one out of jail for a DWI arrest, theft arrest, or marijuana arrest.
In non-legalese, this means it is possible to get a loved one out of jail quickly before they are taken to a magistrate to set bond. A magistrate process by law may take up to 24 hours from the time of arrest on a misdemeanor.
A “writ bond” is a loose term but it actually means a “writ of habeas corpus” filed with the County by a lawyer for their client (the person arrested) that will trigger a cash bond. Once the bond is set, it can be paid — and the person arrested released.
My office’s 24-hour jail release line is (214) 724-7065 if you’ve been told a friend or family member needs a “writ bond.”
Arrests Which Qualify for Writ Bonds
Collin County and Plano Writ bonds are only appropriate in a narrow set of instances. The offense charged must be a Class B or A Misdemeanor (meaning no traffic tickets or felonies). No assault or family violence charges either.
More Details About Writ Bonds
Legally what is happening is that the lawyer is filing what is known as a “writ of habeas corpus” (Latin for “you have the body”) on behalf of his client — the person arrested. It is a petition from relief for unlawful detention. Don’t let the unlawful part throw you — it just means the person is being held without bond.
Collin County has a schedule of bonds which are set upon the filing of a writ by a lawyer on behalf of the client. Once the bond is set, it can be paid like a cash bond (meaning that the person in custody is both the principal and surety — i.e. no bail bondsman is in the equation). Months down the road when the case is completed, the bond money gets refunded back to the inmate (not the friend or family member paying the cash bond), or if the person doesn’t come to court — the bond money may be forfeited.
This process shouldn’t be confused with a bail bond. That is where a bondsman posts the bond with the county on the inmate’s behalf. This gives the bondsman incentive to make sure the released person goes to Court because if they don’t, they’re liable to the county for the money pledged.
Some lawyers can also be bail bondsmen but most aren’t. A lawyer doesn’t have to be a bail bondsmen to file a writ of habeas corpus. I am not a bail bondsman but you should know the difference if you’re visiting with a lawyer or a bondsman about any type of jail release.
Jeremy F. Rosenthal, Esq.
(214) 724-7065 (Jail release number)
*Jeremy F. Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas. He is Board Certified in Criminal Law. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice, please consult an attorney.