Search Site
IBC Centre, 130 East Travis Street, Suite #425 | San Antonio, TX 78205

Texas Bail Reform Legislation Falls Short, But System Improvements Are Underway

More than two years after federal courts ruled cash bail systems in Dallas and Harris counties unconstitutional, the Texas legislature has been unable to pass bail reform legislation. In May 2019, the House passed a bill that would have implemented measures to make bail more available to poorer defendants. But the bill never made it to the Senate, landing in the dust heap of earlier failed efforts. Nevertheless, the court rulings and the attention drawn by activists to the inequities of the bail system have resulted in some changes.

Critics of cash bail say it is fundamentally unjust, since at bail hearings, magistrates often rely on a fixed schedule that sets bail according to the charged offense, without considering the risk of flight or the defendant’s ability to pay. Even a relatively low bail amount is out of reach for many poor defendants, making it more likely for them to plead guilty to avoid a lengthy pretrial jail stay. Meanwhile, defendants with greater means can easily post bail and walk free while they await trial. Across the country and throughout Texas, reform advocates have called for an end to cash bail, suggesting house arrest, ankle bracelets and other forms of supervised release.

In 2017 and 2018, federal courts found that cash bail practices in Harris and Dallas counties unconstitutionally discriminated against poor defendants. The rulings required the counties to review their practices and to consider alternatives to cash bail for every defendant arrested, assessing a defendant’s risk of flight and danger to the community based on such factors as their criminal history and economic situation. The counties are in the process of implementing these measures, though progress has been hampered by the need to hire and train personnel to handle the assessment process.

The bill that passed in May, HB 2020, called for creating a state bail advisory commission to collect data and to make best practices recommendation for risk assessment tools to be used when determining bail. Among other requirements, courts would have been prohibited from considering factors that “disproportionately affect persons who are members of racial or ethnic minority groups or who are socioeconomically disadvantaged.”

If you or a family member is arrested in Texas, a qualified criminal defense lawyer is indispensable at the bail hearing in order to make sure that the best arguments for pretrial release on low bail or even without bail are made. The means stressing to the court such factors as a steady employment, a stable family life, ties to the community and a favorable prior history with the court system.

Kevin L. Collins is an experienced trial lawyer and former prosecutor who vigorously defends his clients, no matter the charges. The legal team at Kevin L. Collins, P.C. in San Antonio is ready to represent you anywhere in the state. Call me at 210-598-8629 or contact me online for immediate assistance.

COVID-19 Notice
We are here to help and support you through these generally challenging times with your specific legal issues. You will be able to reach me or my staff through our main telephone numbers, and of course by email: [email protected] Phone conferences for existing and potential clients are available, as is the video conference feature through the Zoom app. Zoom may present some privacy challenges so phone conferences are preferred. Please take care of your health by following the measures recommended by the CDC, and by state and local authorities.
Firm Recognition
  • Super Lawyers
    Best Law Firms 2021
  • Three Best Rated
  • ThreeBest Rated
Client Reviews
  • google

    Mr. Collins was very responsive and handled a case involving my son quickly and followed up with my wife and I during every step of the process. I recommend giving him a call should you need legal assistance.

    Read more

    Clint Ratliff

  • google

    Kevin Collins got us out of a hopeless situation. He is very professional, experienced and had the right direction all the way. His staff was helpful and we were blessed to have his law firm on our side. We will be forever grateful.

    Read more

    Bonnie Hill

  • google

    I was pulled over for a DUI by the San Antonio Police Department. It was unfortunate, but immediately after my arrest, I braced myself for the fallout -- court dates, fees, missed time from work, and a host of other worries. I called Kevin and his f...

    Read more

    Mario Ochoa

  • google

    Mr. Collins recently assisted us in getting some issues resolved. He was confident in his approach since day one and put our minds at ease. Due to COVID, courts were at a stand still but that didn’t keep Mr. Collins’ office from providing us time...

    Read more

    Melissa Neri

  • lawyers

    Kevin Collins is the BEST Criminal Attorney in San Antonio , TX. He handle my case back in 1999 when the judge asked to help me and he did right there and then . Ever since then I have referred many , many clients to him . All of the clients I r...

    Read more


See all reviews
Case Results
State of Texas v. J.T. Furnishing Alcohol to a minor dismissed after start of trial despite death caused by accident
View All
Contact us

Quick Contact Form