Articles Posted in County Jail

Calculating back time is an issue that slows down many a plea bargain. It’s not as simple as just adding up the days you were in jail. There are issues of when the warrant was issued, figuring out all the different jails you may have been in, getting those agencies to respond, and finally giving any “good time” credit the local sheriff may afford. In Kaufman County the District Attorney’s office will calculate the back for us, which is nice. In Dallas you can allegedly use their DHARMA initiative DOS computer (JI 55) to do this, but I avoid those like the plague (or like the MRSA infection that lives on those keyboards).

So if you are sitting in the county jail and looking at a plea bargain for pen time or county time how can you figure out your back time? Not by using this blog post, since I don’t know a single county jail with internet access, but I digress.

First, it depends on what kind of case you are pleading guilty to. Misdemeanor sentences are eligible for good time credit provided by the Sheriff towards any sentence. For example, in Rockwall you get 2 for 1 credit on misdemeanors. So if you get a 30 days sentence for your DWI you are out in 15. Kaufman County is day-for-day, which is nuts and serves no real purpose beyond keeping poor people in jail longer and costing local taxpayers to lock up DWI and POM offenders.

So a detective has called you up and invited you down to the local police sheriff’s department for an interview? When you arrive they will tell you that you are free to go at any time, and that they just want to get your side of the story. THIS IS A TRAP. Here’s how it works.

First, they only tell that you are free to go so they do not have to Mirandize you. You have to be under arrest and/or in custody for your Miranda warnings to apply. By telling you that you are free to go, they can ask whatever they want without telling you about your right to remain silent, or right to end questioning, or right to have an attorney present. They do this because the do not want you to have a lawyer there. They want to trick you into confessing.

Second, the “get your side of the story” line is meant to diffuse your anxiety. The detective wants you to think that they are going to help you and that they have an open mind as to what you tell them. Here’s the deal, before you show up the detective has already decided if they think you are guilty. Nothing you say will change their mind. They are going to take parts of your story that fit their theory of how are you guilty and assume those are true, they are also going to assuming you are lying if you make statements that don’t fit their theory that you are guilty. It is a lose-lose situation.

Here’s a story from WFAA about problems with the DPD field sobriety testing program. Apparently too many officers were failing, and it’s taken on a racial angle of sorts.

Dallas police sobriety testing training practices called into question | Dallas – Fort Worth.

Here’s what you to know.

Good question. One of the ways our criminal justice system extorts guilty pleas out of defendants is by wasting their time. The biggest time waste in the criminal justice system is requiring Defendants to show up at every court setting. It’s most ridiculous is misdemeanor cases and it’s a huge loss of productivity since most defendants are missing many days of work just to show up for their pot case. It’s not unusual for Defendants to be fired for going to court.  The situation varies by county, in Dallas county your lawyer can show up for most misdemeanor settings. In Kaufman County the Defendant has to appear at every setting, with one exception.

About once or twice a month we will get a client who needs to move a court date and can’t make it. This is always a dangerous proposal and we advise them that it’s up to the judge to allow a case to be reset sans appearance. If a client chooses to just not show up and we haven’t worked it out with the court, then the Defendant can be charged with failure to appear.

What is failure to appear in Texas? 

In Dallas, a lot of things are possible that don’t happen in other counties. One of those things, is that it is possible to clear a warrant without the time wasting bookin process at the county jail. It’s an efficiency move that recognizes how useless it is to waste time making pot defendants sit in the county jail for hours. Good move Dallas County.

How does it work?

First, you need a defense lawyer. That defense lawyer must get a judge to set a bond and approve your book in waiver. If you are charged with murder, this probably won’t happen, if you are charged with the “crime” of possessing pot, then you’ve got a chance.

A pair of stories highlight how much our criminal justice system has been taken over by unrestrained government greed. When I talk to a defendant about the costs of the average DWI plea, the $450 court costs, the $1,000 fine,$50 a month for community service, the $3,000 surcharge, most are shocked. Then I tell them how court costs are really a regressive tax for all kinds of special projects. The fine is the county’s take, the probation fee is a make-work program for the local government, and the surcharge is the result of politicians taxing the group least likely to complain or organize.

They usually reply “This system is all about money isn’t it”. Yes it is. DWI cases have the fake moral outrage factor. That somehow these defendants are awful people who “chose to break the law”, ignoring the fact that DWI is an opinion crime prosecutoed with make believe bullshit SFSTs and crooked DPS lab workers.

The real theft occurs in ticket cases. Ticket courts are cash cows for city and county government. There is less of the phony pretense of “safety” or “justice” involved. The city needs your money, and they will throw lock you in a cage until you pay. Have you ever wondered why a typical speeding ticket fine is over $200. Was the “danger” you posed to the community $200 bad? Or does the government want to maximize how much it steals from each driver? Ticket fines are a political decision. Judges get pressure from other pols (county commissioners, city officials) to up the take so the city can avoid raising tax rates.

Most criminal defendants never planned on getting arrested. But if you are a forward looking recreational drug user or retailer, It may help to know how much bail money you need to set aside when LEO shows up. I’ve attached a copy of the Dallas County recommended bond schedule to help you plan ahead.

bond schedule.docx

Economics is the study of scarcity and choices. That is, the world has a limited amount of stuff, so what are we going to do about it? One of those limited resources is law enforcement. We only have so many police man-hours in any given year, how are we going to allocate this limited resource?

Recently, Dallas has seen a rise in the number of family violence related homicides and DPD is facing pressure to “do something”. Limited resource, plus choice = a new effort to focusing on clearing warrants for those charged with violent offenses.

From DMN-

Have a loved one stuck in the Kaufman county jail? Want to know what the charges are and how much bail is set at?

Where is the Kaufman County Jail Located?

1900 U.S. 175, Kaufman, TX 75142. If you got to 175 and 34 and take the service road East, it’s on the right, past the new Whataburger and Walmart, just keep going.

For a class B misdemeanor in Texas the range of punishment is up to 180 days in county jail and a fine of up to $2,000. ROPs are the legislatures way of telling us exactly how outraged they are at particular conduct. They are in no way reflective of the harm caused to society or the victim.

Can you think of a reason that any person should serve 180 days in jail for-

DWI 1st?

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