Checking Into Jail FAQ
Q: Where do I turn myself in?
A: The main entrance to the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center located at 509 W 11th Street, Austin, TX 78701. This is the same courthouse where you went for your case. You will go to the bonding desk which is down the hallway on your right after the metal detectors. You can ask any of the deputies for help.
Q: What time should I turn myself in?
A: 8pm. This allows you to get credit for the full day (which counts for two days), and gives the officers time to process you into the jail (even if they are busy).
Q: The doors to the building are locked. What do I do?
A: There is a silver speaker box with a button beside the front door of the courthouse. Press the button and when the deputy says "How can I help you?" say "I'm here to turn myself in at bonding." They will say "OK" and take a few minutes to come open the door.
Q: What should I bring?
A: A Texas DL/ID is best but any government issued picture ID will do. Bring as few things with you as possible. A phone, debit card and reading glasses are fine.
Q: Should I call you right before I go in and ask how long I will have to stay in jail?
A: No. It is unlikely that I will have access to your file and all of the information necessary to figure the sentence out again. I promise you the answer is the same as what I told you in court.
Q: You told they will release me after midnight. Does that mean12:01am?
A: They will release you as after midnight as they can. It depends on how busy they are. Sometimes it can be as late as 3am.
Q: Have you ever had people stay in jail longer than you said they would be in?
Q: How many times have you done this?
Q: Is that a guarantee?
A: No. The deputies could make some type of error. However, that has not happened so far.
Q: What if the deputies tell me that I'm going to be in for longer than you told me?
A: Don't panic. There have been occasions where the deputies freak people out because they are either incompetent or deliberately "messing" with someone that has annoyed them. Don't ask them to "verify" your length of stay. Don't tell them "I'm only going to be here for a few hours." Just let them process you. Their system will make sure that you are released at the right time.
Q: Can I call you from the jail?
A: Our phone system does not accept collect calls from the jail. My advice is to memorize the phone number of a friend that will accept collect calls and ask your friend to call us. However, you should wait until it has passed the time that we told you that you would be released before you start calling people. As I said before, we have not been wrong yet about when our clients are released.
Q: Will they take me down into the basement?
A: Sometimes. There is nothing we can do about it.
Q: Will they take my fingerprints and mugshot?
A: Yes. That is part of being booked into jail.
Q: Will attorneys send me letters again?
A: Probably. The sheriff provides a list of everyone who has been booked into the jail. It doesn't differentiate between new arrests and bookings to satisfy a jail sentence.
Q: Is there anything that I can do to shorten the time?
A: If they offer you a chance to "work" or be a "trustee" then say "yes, please." Sometimes they will let you empty one trash can and call that "working." This will get you 3 days credit for every real day (as opposed to the two you automatically receive.)
Q: Can I take medication into the jail?
A: No. If you are going to be staying for more than 48 hours, you can bring a copy of your prescription and a letter from your doctor (dated within 30 days of your turn-in date). However, even this is no guarantee that you will get the medication you need in a timely manner (or at all.)
Q: Will it help me to be super friendly to the deputies?
A: No. Just say "yes, sir/maam" or "No, sir/maam." Smiling is ok. I'd refrain from telling jokes.
Q: What is the booking procedure?
A: The deputies will confirm that you are supposed to turn yourself in, then ask you a bunch of questions. For example, address, phone #, if you have any tattoos, etc.
Q: What if the deputies decide that I deserve more punishment? Will they keep me until the end of the day?
A: Unless you make them mad, the deputies will let you out as soon as possible. You are a liability to them as long as you are in their custody (because they have to feed you and take care of you). They want you to leave almost as much as you want to leave.
Q: What if the deputies tell me to come back at 11pm or 11:30pm?
A: Do exactly what they tell you to do. If they do tell you to come back, they are trying to minimize the time they are responsible for you. Do not miss the time you are supposed to return!
Q: The deputies let me out sooner than I expected. Is that ok?
A: Yes. If they let you out, you are done.
Q: What should I do when I get out?
A: Send me an email letting me know how it went. Did anything surprise you? What should I tell future clients about the process?
Q: Can I change my turn in date?
A: No. But if it is an emergency, you can hire us to file a motion to change the date and see if the judge will agree. We charge $500 for this.
Q: I have more questions.
A: No problem. Give us a call 512-472-1113.