Breckenridge Texan

Local, district courts agree to implement new bond requirements

Local, district courts agree to implement new bond requirements
March 04
13:08 2024

Last week, three local judges agreed to new bond requirements for defendants in Stephens County.

District Judge Phillip Gregory, County Judge Michael Roach and Justice of the Peace Steve Spoon approved the new requirements presented by Gregory on Thursday, Feb. 29. The requirements are effective immediately, Roach said.

According to the agreement for the new regulations, titled “Local Rules Pertaining to Defendants on Bond,” they are in line with the Code of Criminal Procedure Art.17.40, and the local courts agree that certain conditions related to the safety of victims and the community are necessary to ensure the defendant’s attendance at trial and/or comply with the law.

The rules set forth three main conditions for defendants:

  1. Drug Restrictions: Defendants are strictly prohibited from using, possessing or consuming marijuana, substances with THC, any controlled substances, narcotic or dangerous drug, unless lawfully prescribed by a physician. Random drug testing will be conducted to verify compliance. Failure to adhere to this rule will result in insufficient bond, increased bond, and a warrant for arrest.
  2. School or Work Attendance: Defendants must attend school regularly or maintain suitable employment. Proof of employment must be provided during every court appearance. Unemployed defendants must seek employment assistance through Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas and provide proof of service enrollment and active job seeking at each court appearance.
  3. Mental Health Care: If a defendant is identified with possible mental health issues, they are required to undergo a mental health evaluation as ordered by the Court. Treatment may include appointments with the local Mental Health facility, following prescribed medications, participating in treatment programs, attending counseling and residing in group homes or facilities as recommended. Failure to comply may result in further court supervision, including confinement. The new bond rules do not limit or supersede existing or future statutory mental health-related relief.

Violation of any condition may result in forfeiture, revocation, or increased bond, and defendants may face confinement or fines up to $100 for contempt of court.

Roach said the courts already impose certain bond conditions, as required by law, for some alleged crimes, such as domestic violence, DWIs, etc.

“So that that’s a more serious bond condition. What this is, is more of a standing order, that would be given to every single person who is released from jail on bond, whether it’s a PR bond or a cash bond of some kind,” Roach said. “They will all get the same letter, and they’ll have to report once a month to court and just make sure that they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing. So they’re not having to pay a fee or anything like that, but they can be drug tested. If there’s issues or concerns there. … So it’s basically holding folks accountable who have pending cases before either court — misdemeanor or felony court–  that they check in once a month, do what they’re supposed to and not be on drugs, etc.”

Although the restrictions will technically apply to all defendants, Roach said, the judges will implement them on a case-by-case basis. For example, some defendants may not be able to work or attend school or may not be able to afford to pay for a drug test.

“So basically, my understanding … is if you’re out on out on bail, because you allegedly committed a crime, then during that period, until this case is adjudicated, however that resolves, you need to not be on drugs. If you’re unemployed, and you’re employable, you need to be working towards that,” Roach said. “That’s the sense that I get is that, ‘Hey, you can’t be out on bail, alleged to have committed a crime and then also not cooperating with the legal system by continuing illegal conduct.'”

The more formal bond conditions will still be enforced, as needed, in addition to the new local bond rules, Roach said.



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