If you are charged with a sex offense in the Greater Houston area, one of the difficulties you may face while you are on bond is having to comply with conditions imposed by the court. Many bond conditions in sex crimes cases can be extremely strict and disrupt your life, including your ability to see your kids, remain at home, or travel out of the county or state. Fortunately, depending on the facts and the prosecutor and judge assigned to your case, it may be possible to modify your bond conditions to allow you to live as close to normally as possible while your case is being defended.
If you are charged with a sex offense in Texas, such as sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, or indecency with a child, the judge in your case will order bond conditions that must be obeyed while the case is pending. The bond conditions that are imposed in your case can vary greatly depending on your judge and prosecutor and the nature of the allegations. However, under Texas Penal Code 17.41, where there is an alleged child victim, judges are required to impose a condition of bond prohibiting the defendant from directly communicating with the alleged victim of the offense or going to there home, work or school. Other bond conditions in sex cases can include no internet usage, random drug and alcohol testing, restrictions on travel and even a curfew. The reality is that for many defendants in sex cases, bond conditions can be so restrictive that it can become very difficult to live a normal life while you are fighting the charges against you.
Bond conditions in a sex case are typically set when a defendant sees a magistrate judge (soon after being arrested and typically before an attorney is hired), or at the first court appearance, in front of the judge who will handle the case. One reason it is a good idea to have an attorney at your first court setting when facing a sex crimes charge is that your attorney can advocate on your behalf and try to prevent overly restrictive bond conditions from being set in the first place. An experienced sex crimes attorney should take the time to understand your situation to be able to argue effectively on your behalf and prioritize the conditions that are most important to you. For example, if the judge will issue a no contact order with children in an indecency with a child case, an experienced sex crimes attorney should be prepared with a detailed plan to propose to the judge that would allow for supervised visits with the children.
If bond conditions have already been set, a sex crimes attorney must file a Motion to Modify Bond Conditions and approach the judge to ask that it be granted. Again, a sex crimes attorney can make it more likely that a request will be granted by being prepared and understanding a client’s background (including their criminal history) and living and work situation. If the alleged victim in a sex case is not a defendant’s child, then visitation may not be a concern of the defendant. But a sex crimes attorney can still attempt to get other bond conditions modified, such as conditions limiting travel or internet access, which can make it difficult or impossible to maintain many jobs.
Whatever bond conditions are imposed in a sex case, it is critical that they are clearly understood and strictly obeyed. If you are alleged to have violated a bond condition in a sex case, then your bond officer or a prosecutor could file a violations report. If the judge believes that you have violated your bond in sex case after receiving a violation report, the judge could revoke and raise your bond, or even hold you without bond in some instances. The judge can also make your conditions even more strict by, for example, requiring GPS monitoring or instituting a curfew. Additionally, violating your bond conditions could also make it more difficult to resolve your case favorably, as the prosecutor and judge could believe that you are a person who has a hard time following the rules and has no respect for the authority of the court.
In the Houston area, the reality is that many sex cases can last for years. Living under the shadow of a sex crimes accusation is difficult enough, but restrictive bond conditions are a reality that must be accepted. In order to maximize your chances of putting a sex crimes allegation behind you – and minimizing the harm and inconvenience of overly restrictive bond conditions – it is critical that you consult with an experienced sex crimes attorney right away.
Ceja Law Firm prides itself on providing thorough, aggressive and personalized representation for clients accused of sex crimes including, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, indecency with a child and much more. Attorney Jose Ceja is a former prosecutor who has successfully defended sex cases throughout the Greater Houston area. If you are charged with any sex crime anywhere in the Greater Houston area, call Ceja Law Firm today for a free consultation.