Prepare

If you are thinking about committing non-violent civil disobedience, or exercising your constitutional rights to free speech and expression of ideas, manifesting your dissent, participating in a peaceful protest in which you might be arrested…

You need to make your own list of personal tasks — are you covered at work? will someone feed and walk your dog? will family members freak out if they call you and you don’t answer? have you paid your rent, your utilities, your phone bill — or will you get out of jail to discover that you’re evicted or jobless or owe fees for re-activating various services?

Here’s a list of things you can do to facilitate your release from jail, assuming a) you are not charged with anything serious, b) you have no (or very little and inconsequential) criminal history, c) you live in the area, and d) there is no possibility of Immigration Control and Enforcement (ICE) asking Travis County to hold you.

PREPARE

Someone – either Pre-Trial Services or your advocate — will need to fill out the Pretrial Services Personal Bond form and the Pretrial Services Investigation Form – to determine whether you qualify for personal bond.

You can make this process easier if you prepare all the information highlighted in yellow on the following two forms ahead of time. Keep it current. Give your information to the coordinator of your group if you are comfortable doing so, or directly to your lawyer. (Information that you give to people other than your lawyer, spouse, minister/priest/rabbi/imam other clergy person, is NOT privileged.)

1. Link to the Travis County Pretrial Services Personal Bond form, Revised August 2013 (white)

Notes

Address: You need to put the place where you live, not a work address.
The first question “how long” means how long have you lived at that address.
If your mailing address is the same as your physical address, you can just write “same.”

DOB means “date of birth” and POB means “place of birth.” CZ means “citizenship.”

The F/M at the top right hand corner means “felony” or “misdemeanor.” Do not fill this out. The pretrial services office or your lawyer will circle the correct option when the probable cause affidavit is filed by the arresting officer.

2. Link to the Pretrial Services Investigation Form, Revised March 2013 (blue)

Notes

Who you live with, the nature of your relationship(s), and number of dependents, if any, you have.

How many hours a week you are working

Whether you have health insurance

Self-reported arrest record: This part is really important. YES, you need to reveal old arrests. You do not need to reveal mere traffic tickets, but you do need to report arrests, EVEN if there was no conviction, even if it was “all taken care of.” Think back! A lot of times we forget unpleasant experiences: make sure you have the complete information. If you are not comfortable sharing this information with your coordinator/legal representatives ahead of time, please put an asterisk here so that we don’t miss it while interviewing you at the jail. But make sure you know at least why you were arrested or what you were alleged to have done, where, and approximately when. If you give a Pre-Trial Services interviewer incomplete information, or if your lawyer gives a Pre-Trial Services interviewer or judge incomplete information, why should people believe what else you say? Be honest.

Your references. The Pre-Trial Services workers are LIKELY to call at least one or two of your references and will tell them that you’ve been arrested. They are also likely to ask your references something about you and your history. Keep this likelihood in mind when you list your references. Make sure you have accurate, up-to-date phone information (day and night). You may ask, “Do I really need to list four references?” Yes, please do. Please have at least two of these references be people who live in the county where you think you might be arrested.

See also:

You’ve got to know the territory
Know yourself
Know your colleagues
The things you carry

Return to: Thinking about committing civil disobedience?