Bond Supervision in Texas is the same as being on Conditions of Bond or Bond Conditions. Brian Foley is a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Montgomery County, Texas who helps people who have been placed on conditions of bond or have been alleged to have violated conditions of bond.
What is a Bond Condition?
In misdemeanor and felony cases that involve jail or prison time as a potential consequence the judge may set bail. When setting bail in a criminal case the judge may impose certain conditions of bail in order to ensure the appearance of the defendant and general public safety.
When setting the bail the judge will consider the following factors:
1. Bail and any conditions of bail shall be sufficient to give reasonable assurance that the undertaking will be complied with.
2. The power to require bail is not to be used to make bail an instrument of oppression.
3. The nature of the offense and the circumstances under which the offense was committed are to be considered, including whether the offense: (A) is an offense involving violence as defined by Article 17.03; or (B) involves violence directed against a peace officer.
4. The ability to make bail shall be considered, and proof may be taken on this point.
5. The future safety of a victim of the alleged offense, law enforcement, and the community shall be considered.
6. The criminal history record information for the defendant, including information obtained through the statewide telecommunications system maintained by the Department of Public Safety and through the public safety report system developed under Article 17.021, shall be considered, including any acts of family violence, other pending criminal charges, and any instances in which the defendant failed to appear in court following release on bail.
7. The citizenship status of the defendant shall be considered.
Electronic Monitoring and Drug Testing as a Condition?
Art. 17.43. of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure allows a judge to place a home curfew and require a defendant to submit to and pay for electronic monitoring. This is typically accomplished with an "ankle monitor."
Under Art. 17.44 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure a judge
"may require as a condition of release on bond that the defendant submit to:
(1) home confinement and electronic monitoring under the supervision of an agency designated by the magistrate; or
(2) testing on a weekly basis for the presence of a controlled substance in the defendant's body. "
(c) The [Judge] may revoke the bond and order the defendant arrested if the defendant:
(1) violates a condition of home confinement and electronic monitoring;
(2) refuses to submit to a test for controlled substances or submits to a test for controlled substances and the test indicates the presence of a controlled substance in the defendant's body; or
(3) fails to pay the reimbursement fee for monitoring or testing for controlled substances, if payment is ordered under Subsection (e) as a condition of bond and the magistrate determines that the defendant is not indigent and is financially able to make the payments as ordered."
Isn't this being punished before being found guilty?
This is one of the hardest parts of fighting a criminal charge. The idea that you have to comply with what amounts to probation before you have been found guilty or been afforded an opportunity to try the case to a jury.
Texas courts have approved reasonable conditions of bond including reporting to the county probation office and submitting to drug testing and ankle monitoring. Although these requirements can be oppressive they are frequently upheld by reviewing courts. To those who have been wrongfully accused of a crime and are waiting for their day in court these conditions can be especially intrusive.
How do I get a bond condition changed?
The best way to try to get bond conditions changed is to have your lawyer file a motion with the court to amend bond conditions supported by reasoning as to the oppressive nature of the bond condition and the factual circumstances which make the conditions unnecessary to secure your appearance in court or to protect the safety of the alleged victim and community. Having a lawyer who knows the court system where you are charged is essential.