Attorney says Brazos County bail amounts too high, no rules are published

“I wish I could provide a link to the bail schedule for Brazos County. I cannot. There is no published bond schedule I can find for Brazos County,” complains Bryan based attorney Lane Thibodeaux in a blog post carrying the headline, “Getting High: Bail in Brazos County, TX.”

“Bail is not a sexy topic, but it is a fundamental one.” Thibodeaux writes. He then outlines Brazos County bail bond amounts he has learned of anecdotally. “If you are arrested in Brazos County for POM-Class B (Less than 2 oz) expect a minimum bail amount of $2000. If you have an out of town address, not unusual as this is a college town, the bail set will be $3000. If the offense is a Class A Assault or Assault Family Violence, the bail will be $4000. The same offense, with an out of town address? $5000.”

“If there is a schedule,” writes Thibodeaux, “I would love [to have a Justice of the Peace] let me know where it can be found. There seems to be some schedule, but access is akin to a secret fraternity handshake: It is only known only to the … Brazos County Justices of the Peace.”

Thibodeaux then asks his readers to “compare these misdemeanor bail amounts in Brazos County to those in Harris County (Houston).” Bond amounts for that county are published on the Harris County District Clerk website

 Class: B, Standard Offense
1st Offense $500
2nd Offense $500, plus $500 for each prior misdemeanor conviction
plus $1,000 for each prior felony conviction
Not to exceed $5,000

Class: A, Standard Offense
 1st Offense $1,000
 2nd Offense $1,000, plus $500 for each prior misdemeanor
conviction
$1,000 plus $1,000 for each prior felony
conviction
not to exceed $5,000

Class: Family Violence or Threat of Violence
 1st Offense $1,500
 2nd Offense Plus $2,000 for each prior conviction for a
violent offense or threat of violence

Class: DWI
 First Offense $500
 Subsequent Offense $2,500 plus $1,000 for each prior conviction
not to exceed $5,000

Class: Any offense committed while on bond,
community supervision, intervention, or
parole. 
 $5,000

Class: Any motion to adjudicate or revoke
community supervision. $5,000

Thibodeaux ties it all together with a hypothetical Aggie caught up on a Possession of Marijuana charge: “This means if a TAMU student with a Houston address is arrested in Brazos County for POM less than 2 oz, their base bail amount is $3000. In contrast, in Harris County if someone with a College Station address is arrested for the same POM offense, their bail would be $500.”

Thibodeaux clarifies the hypothetical comparison by adding that “this person in Harris County would never be arrested in the first place, as they would be cited, released and qualify [for] a pre-trial diversion program, but that is another topic already vented upon).”

In terms of the bond amount, the local attorney concludes, “This makes no sense. An arrestee in Brazos County is receiving a bail amount up to 6 times the amount they would receive if arrested an hour’s drive south in Houston.”

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