When a person is arrested in Harris County and the surrounding counties, they are taken to the county jail. Sometimes they are asked to change into the standard jail issued clothes. Within several hours of arriving at the jail, an arrested person is supposed to be taken before a magistrate.
A magistrate in this context is an unelected person appointed to make early decisions about important matters such as how much the bond is going to be. The magistrate can also impose conditions on a person’s release, or conditions of bond. There is usually a magistrate on duty all the time.
There is usually a period of hours between the time that a person is arrested and the time that a bond is set and able to be made. Before that, it is not currently possible to get out of jail.
Sometimes, and rarely, the magistrate will pass on setting a bond at all. Defendants are usually brought to court within a couple of days when they have not made bond. During this first court appearance the defendant’s lawyer will usually ask the elected judge to set a bond amount and the Judge will often set conditions of bond, such as monitors of various types.See All Questions