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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 32579
Experience:  Numerous criminal trials ranging from traffic to murder, practicing Criminal Law for 20+ years.
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Okay, heres the thing... I was arrested for "animal abuse"

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Okay, here's the thing... I was arrested for "animal abuse" -did not have registration- and taken to the county jail late afternoon. Next morning was taken to the jail's front desk where an old woman in a trenchcoat, looking like a housekeeper, had some papers for me to sign. It finally dawned on me that this woman was actually a JP judge, and the papers were her "findings of probable cause." She wrote down an extremely high bail without pause to consider, almost as if she'd been prompted, and I have no idea what she based her "probable cause" on, other than simply reading a report or being filled in by a deputy or the DA. Charges turned out to be "misdemeanor class A animal abuse," rather than simple "class C lack of registration" which should have been administrative and not jailable. There was nobody else present, other than the intake officer, who wasn't even paying attention. She also filled out a simple "certificate of indigence" and scribbled down the name of a defense attorney, and then sent me back to the cell to await a hearing the next week. No mention or consideration of possible bond reduction or PR bond. I'd never been arrested before in my life, and lack of registration is hardly a violent crime.

My question is, was this informal visit by the magistrate in the jail legal? Shouldn't that have taken place in the courtroom next door and been recorded as a normal court proceeding? And shouldn't bond reduction or PR bond have been at least discussed?

Dwayne B. :

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.

Dwayne B. :

Your questions are:

Dwayne B. :

was this informal visit by the magistrate in the jail legal?

Dwayne B. :

Yes, there is nothing that prevents the initial hearing from being informal. The Texas Indigent Defense provisions simply require that the judge see the accused and set bail within a specific time period as well as appoint a lawyer if an appointment is necessary.

Dwayne B. :

Shouldn't that have taken place in the courtroom next door and been recorded as a normal court proceeding?

Dwayne B. :

No, it isn't unusual for the initial hearing to take place in the jail. Many of them take place in a small room actually inside the jail. There is no record made of these proceedings as a Justice of the Peace court is not a court of record.

Dwayne B. :

And shouldn't bond reduction or PR bond have been at least discussed?

Dwayne B. :

No, not at the initial hearing. You could certainly have made an oral motion for a PR bond or to reduce bond but it would likely have been denied at this point. Most of the JPs have a preset bond amount depending on the charge and classification of the charge. Your lawyer can file a Motion to Reduce Bond after they meet with you.

Dwayne B. :

The website is showing you are offline so I will save and exit so I can assist others. If you have any additional questions please feel free to ask them in this thread. I will be online most of the day but it may take a little while for me to answer if I am assisting others.

Customer:

I'm subscribed here for unlimited monthly questions, so why is this one marked $25? If I rate this "Bad," it's because of that, not your answer.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

One more thing I could add to this question... The magistrate also failed to ask how I plead. In looking over papers -court documents and police files, whatever I was able to view- I see no mention at all of a guilty or not guilty plea, or even a "nolo contender". I really believe the only reason they kept me jailed for a week, under an unreasonably high bond, till the night before the hearing, was to keep me "out of the way," and unable to put together any sort of reasonable defense. That night, I was released on PR bond, and charged with "Class A misdemeanor animal abuse." What I did gather together in that one night of "freedom" went totally ignored in the courtroom. Three days of unwarranted searching of my property before the warrant was issued went ignored by the court, and so-called "evidence" gathered during those searches was admitted, despite my protests. The judge openly stated in the courtroom that it'd be a shame if all the "hard work" by the vet and humane society were for nothing, and then somehow a civil judgment was passed, awarding all my animals to the humane society, and vet's costs taxed to me. It was a mess from start to finish, and somehow morphed from criminal to civil. Sorry about getting off topic here, but the question here is, shouldn't there have been a plea entered at that initial "hearing" by a dumpy "housekeeper" who turned out to be a magistrate? -And shouldn't the magistrate have identified herself to begin with, rather than to let me assume she was a housekeeper or office help??

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