Frequently Asked Questions
There are many Texas attorneys who advertise that they will “serve as both your bail bond agent (bondsman) and your attorney” and that they provide “competitive rates” for bail bonds that can later be applied to legal fees.
We strongly recommend that you NEVER hire an attorney that also agrees to be your bail bondsman. Although “attorney bonds” are permitted in Texas, it appears that Texas may be the only state that explicitly allows this practice.
The reason for this is clear. Where a lawyer is both a client’s attorney and bondsman, there is an obvious conflict of interest. Remember, if a client fails to appear in court, a bondsman can lose the full bond amount, therefore, an attorney wearing both hats has conflicting loyalties. For example, a lawyer might refrain from informing a client about the weakness in his case for fear the client will jump bond and the attorney will be out his bond money. Conversely, a lawyer may be quick to get off a bond in order to protect his own assets when he learns information, sometimes confidential information, that causes him any unease that the client may not comply with bond conditions. Likewise, the lawyer might not inform you that he is getting off the bond and you could find yourself at your next court appearance facing a bond revocation and no lawyer to advocate against it. In many ways, a bondsman, is your “jailer,” as you await trial. You want your attorney to be your advocate and a person you can fully confide in. You do not want your lawyer to be your jailer who is constantly monitoring you and analyzing what you tell him in order to make sure you are complying with bond conditions.
Besides, what if, for whatever reason, you decide later decide that you do not want the lawyer who you hired to post your bond to represent you anymore? You are probably trapped and that is just the way the lawyer wants it. It is almost certain that the lawyer who also serves as your bondsman will tell you that, if you fire him, he will go off your bond. This could result in you being arrested for an insufficient bond before you are able to hire a new lawyer and arrange for a real bail bondsman to assume your bond.
The bottom line is that we strongly urge you to not only walk away, but quickly run away from any attorney who advertises that they also post bonds for their clients. The lawyer will tell you that the reason they do this is to “help” the client or to provide “one stop shopping.” Don’t be fooled. In reality, most lawyers do this for one reason: to make more money. They make money for legal fees and for acting as a bondsman. Again, this practice is not prohibited in Texas, but is generally considered unethical by many states, bar associations, and legal scholars. Why then hire a lawyer who is willing to engage in such a questionable practice in order to make a bit more money at the possible expense of their client?