Archive for the ‘Municipal Court Judges’ Category

Pay That Ticket?

November 6, 2011

Recently, I tried a case to a jury in a local Municipal Court. It really didn’t take long at all and the jury’s decision was Not Guilty. Why would someone want to spend their time and money and contest a ticket?

I initially thought that Don wanted me to get him “Deferred Disposition” to keep the citation off his driving record because that is what most people want. It is easy, relatively inexpensive, and avoids the risk of conviction. I’m glad Don insisted on a trial in his case.

Don was charged with driving through a business parking lot to avoid congestion, as were many other citizens. We all know that we aren’t supposed to cut through the corner gas station to avoid the intersection, but Don’s situation was different. Yes, Don wanted to avoid the congested intersection. Don’t we all want to do that at times? I’d rather drive all over town for an extra 30 minutes, than sit still in traffic. Anyway, Don turned into a marked left turn lane to take a left off of a major roadway onto what appeared to be a public roadway. Once he turned left, the only options he had were two make a U-turn and go back or turn right in front of a Montessori School. It appeared that a road for “thru traffic” will be completed in the future.

At trial, we learned that many people were doing the same thing and the Montessori school had been complaining about it. It looked like a public street and there were no signs notifying the public otherwise. By the way, if you ever decide to cut through a parking lot, make sure you come to at least one complete stop during the crossing then it won’t be an offense. As the Court was excusing the jurors to deliberate, one of the jurors asked, “How many other tickets were issued to others at that location?” The judge couldn’t answer, but I appreciated his question. I wonder how many of our citizens received the same citation and gave their money to the city?

All of us should seriously consider using our resources to contest charges in Municipal or Justice Courts, especially, when we feel the accuser made a mistake. Like George Roland said, “If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, they’ll keep doing what they’ve been doing.” Regardless of the jury’s decision, our accusers will be held accountable. Our system works better when “the people” run the show.

Is it really just a ticket?

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Jail Release and the “Writ Bond” or “Attorney Bond”

September 25, 2011

Jail Release in Collin County, Texas and the “Writ Bond” or “Attorney Bond”

Generally, when a citizen is arrested, he is entitled to “bail”. “Bail” is the security given by the accused to insure that he will appear before the proper court and answer the accusation brought against him. “Bail” can be satisfied by a cash bond, bail bond, a pretrial release bond, and occasionally, a personal bond. A “bail bond” is a written undertaking entered into by the accused and his sureties for his appearance in court.

Although the power to deny or require bail is not supposed to be used as an instrument of oppression, there are judges that will sometimes abuse their power. A large percentage of bail is set by Justices of the Peace and Municipal court judges during the arraignment process. For some reason, many of them feel it is necessary to set the bail very high. The accused person wants out of jail and will exhaust his resources to get out. And so, the bondsman can drive a Cadillac Escalade, while the accused can’t afford to hire a lawyer to defend him. It is possible to reduce the bail amount by filing a Writ of Habeas Corpus.

What do you do if a bond is not set?

If a bond is not set, and the arrested person does not want to wait for a judge to set his bond, he can get a lawyer to file a Writ of Habeas Corpus to get a bond set. It is commonly referred to around the jail as a “Writ Bond”. It is a bond that is set through the writ of habeas corpus process.

For misdemeanor cases, the Collin County Court at Law judges have set up a way for people arrested to have bail set prior to arraignment by a magistrate (judge). When a person has been arrested for a misdemeanor allegedly committed in Collin County, an attorney can file a Writ of Habeas Corpus “writ” at the jail and the bond will be automatically set at previously determined amount. Presently, the predetermined amounts are as follows:

Class A misdemeanor and DWI cases- $500.00
Class B misdemeanor- $350.00

Felony cases require an arraignment by a magistrate or a “Writ” to be signed by a judge.

The bond can be posted by a bondsman or you can post a Cash Bond. A bondsman will charge a fee for posting a bond that will not be returned. A cash bond will be returned to the arrested person, minus a small percentage, after the disposition of the case.