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Photo of the McLennan County Courthouse

Where Do I Go to Court?

It depends on the type of offense that you are charged with

Misdemeanor cases are tried in County Courts at Law #1 and #2. Felony cases are tried in 19th District and 54th District Courts. All courts are located in the McLennan County Courthouse at 501 Washington Avenue in Waco.

When we send you notice of your court date, we’ll let you know which court to go to. You can also sign up for text alerts for your convenience, to make it easy to remember the correct time and location. Call us for any further questions.

County Court at Law # 1

Honorable Vikram Deivanayagam
501 Washington Ave.
Waco, Texas 76701
254-757-5030

County Court at Law # 2

Honorable Bradley Cates
501 Washington Ave.
Waco, Texas 76701
254-757-5030

19th District Court

Honorable Ralph Strother
501 Washington Ave.
Waco, Texas 76701
254-757-5081

54th District Court

Honorable Matt Johnson
501 Washington Ave.
Waco, Texas 76701
254-757-5051

Gavel

Tips to Get the Best Outcome at Your Court Date

  • Be on time. Make sure you know exactly where you are going and give yourself plenty of time. It’s better to arrive early than late. If you are late, you will probably have to reappear at a later date, and the whole process will take much longer than necessary.
  • Be respectful. When you speak to the judge, call him “Your Honor.”
  • Listen carefully. When your name is called, you must answer, even if it’s mispronounced. Listen carefully to all the questions you’re asked, and make sure you understand the steps that will be taken.
  • Be quiet until you’re asked to speak. In the courtroom, only speak when you’re spoken to. Don’t be noisy or distracting. Do not eat, listen to music, read a newspaper, answer your phone, take pictures, or speak out of turn.
  • Stay calm. During the hearing, you must refrain from arguing or interrupting another person and control your emotions.
  • Dress appropriately. The courtroom is a formal environment, so you need to dress like you’re going to a job interview or church. You want to show the judge that you’re respectful and professional. If you dress inappropriately, you may be asked to leave the courtroom. Clothes should be clean, well-fitting, and modest.
    • Men: Wear long pants—NO SHORTS—with a collared shirt (tucked in). Wear shoes with socks. A belt and tie are preferred, but not required.
    • Women: Wear a dress, skirt, or long pants; a dress shirt or sweater, and shoes. Dresses and skirts should be two inches above the knee at the shortest.
Waco Bail Bonds

Your Obligations While On Bond

Whether you are the indemnitor (co-signer) or the defendant, you have agreed to maintain the following obligations. Failing to hold up your end of the deal can have serious consequences.

Indemnitors must read, understand, and ask questions when signing documents

You need to know and fully understand what you’re agreeing to, and you must take your responsibility very seriously. If you feel you may be unable to meet these obligations, you shouldn’t enter into an agreement with a bail bonds company. It’s not as simple as just signing a few papers—it’s a big responsibility. Once the papers are signed, you are personally responsible if the defendant fails to appear in court. Have more questions? Get in contact with the 24 hour bail bondsman and get all the details.

Stay in contact with our office

Make sure we have the correct phone number and can reach you at all times, and answer or return our calls as soon as possible. This is important!

Always provide us with up-to-date contact information

It’s very important that we’re able to reach you at any time. If we can’t locate you, we cannot notify you of your court appearance(s). Give us backup methods of reaching you in case your personal cell phone or landline fails.

Pay us the fee you were charged

We do our best to make our services affordable, and we offer a variety of payment plans for your convenience. If you were issued credit, make all payments in a timely manner.

Appear in court as required

This is the law — if defendants do not appear in court, they have not only broken their contract with us, but also will be held accountable by law and could face additional criminal charges for failure to appear.

It’s also important to dress appropriately for court and be on time.

Do your best to hire an attorney

Although it is your right to represent yourself, clients who hire an attorney typically have better outcomes. If you can’t afford an attorney, you have the right to request that one be appointed to you free of charge. Eligibility is based on your ability to pay – for more information, contact Cathy Edwards, Indigent Defense Coordinator, at 254-759-7540.

Once you have obtained an attorney, it is important that you maintain contact with his or her office.

Understand the consequences

Failing to maintain your obligations can have major consequences. We do our best to make everything clear, but feel free to call us if you have any questions. We are here to help you every step of the way, but we can only do that if you hold up your end of the deal.

Pickens Bail Bonds Office in Bellmead

Consumer Tips When Choosing a Bail Bondsman

When you’re faced with a situation that requires the services of a Bail Bondsman, deciding which bail bond company to go with can be a difficult task. There are often so many companies to choose from that it can seem overwhelming, and in many cases people choose either the first person they call or whoever has the lowest price for their bail bonds.

The right licensed bail bonds representative will be with you for the duration of your case, and you will depend on their company to notify you when you need to be in court, so it’s important to choose a reliable, professional and experienced company.

Protect yourself and your family by following these few simple consumer tips when looking for a bail bondsman.

Do Your Research

When searching for a bail bond agency, take the time to find someone you trust. Read their website, find reviews from past clients, and speak to the bail agency personally before you make a commitment. If you are not fully comfortable, do not enter into a bail bond agreement with them.

Ask About Payment Options

Before you enter into an agreement with someone, make sure you are clear on the payment options. All good bail bondsmen should be willing to work out a payment plan that works for you. Make sure you fully understand the payment process, whether you’re paying all at once or signing up for a payment plan. Your charges should be itemized and explained to your satisfaction. Also, be sure you are given receipts for all charges.

Read All of the Paperwork

Just like with any financial commitment, when it comes to bail bonds take time to read and understand the terms of the agreement prior to signing. Even if you fully trust the company you are working with, you need to make sure you actually agree with the terms of agreement! Remember, even if the charges are dropped in the early stages of the case you will still need to complete all of the premium payments.

Once you have read and agreed to all of the paperwork, make sure to get copies of all signed contracts and agreements for your own protection.

Ask Questions!

You are not only paying for the bond, but you are also paying for service. You should have a comfortable working relationship with the bail bond services you select. If you’re not sure how bail works or if you have any questions about the bond process, you should feel free to ask your bail bondsman. Your bail bond agent should be available to happily answer all your questions and address your concerns, even after the bail bond has been posted.

A good bail bond company will always be there to support you throughout the entire process, and part of that is making sure your questions are answered and your mind is at ease.

In Conclusion

Our company strives to make sure that we are more than just a bail bond company, but a true ally that will help you through the difficult process of being arrested and charged with a criminal offense. Our customer reviews speak for themselves, and there’s a reason why we have a reputation as the best bail bond company around.

We hope that the information in this article is helpful, and if you or someone you know needs bail bond services, please don’t hesitate to give us a call! We are here 24×7 to help in any way possible.

Photo of the US Bill of Rights

The History of Bail

For most people, how the bail bonds services work is a mystery. However, knowing the history of bail will help you understand the bail system we have today.

The Early US Bail System

The United States’ bail laws are based on a system developed in England during the Middle Ages. In 1677, the English parliament passed the Habeas Corpus Act, which, among its provisions, established that magistrates would set terms for bail. The English Bill of Rights of 1689 declared restrictions against “excessive bail.”

These English laws inspired the early leaders of the United States. Traces of the Habeas Corpus Act and the English Bill of Rights appear in the Virginia state constitution and the Eighth Amendment to the US Constitution. The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution states that all people under arrest must “be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation” they face and also allows a person to demand bail if he or she is accused of a bailable offense.

The Judiciary Act of 1789 stated that all non-capital offenses (crimes that did not carry the possibility of the death penalty) were bailable. In the case of capital crimes, the possibility of bail was at the judge’s discretion. The act also placed limits on judges’ powers in setting bail — think back to the English Bill of Rights’ prohibition against “excessive bail.”

The Bail Reform Act of 1966: Overturning Discrimination

From 1789 until 1966, US bail law didn’t change much. In 1966, the U.S. Congress passed the Bail Reform Act, which allowed for the release of defendants with as small a financial burden as possible. Before signing the act, President Lyndon B. Johnson gave a speech that contained stunning examples of how the bail system had hurt people in the past. Here’s a part of his speech:

“A man spent two months in jail before being acquitted. In that period, he lost his job, he lost his car, he lost his family—it was split up. He did not find another job, following that, for four months”

Other anecdotes related similar stories: poor people spending months in jail only to later have the charges dropped; others forced to sit in jail, unable to work, only to be found innocent of all charges. The 1966 Reform Act was a great step toward the system we have today.

The Bail Reform Act of 1984: Closing the Loopholes

The Bail Reform Act of 1984 was a major change in the system. Though the 1966 Bail Reform Act had helped to overturn discrimination against the poor, it had a serious loophole. It allowed many dangerous suspects to receive bail, as long as they didn’t appear to be flight risks. Now, defendants must be held until trial if they’re judged dangerous to the community. The law also established new categories of who could be held without bail — mostly those charged with very serious crimes, repeat offenders, the potentially dangerous and anyone who might be a flight risk. And finally, the act stated that those who were eligible for bail had to have a bail hearing.

Today’s Bail System

Today’s bail system is safer and fairer than past systems, people are a lot more able to obtain bail bonds. It allows bail bondsmen like us to do our work, helping people who can’t afford the full bail amount. It acknowledges that bad things happen to good people, and that many people who are arrested do not deserve to be held in jail while their lives crumble around them. It allows more people to be released on bail, while screening out truly dangerous criminals for everyone’s protection.

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