Understanding the Bail Bond process for Criminal charges in Louisiana
Jun 27, 2023 by Lacie Dauzat
Understanding the Bail Bond Process for Criminal Charges in Louisiana
Being arrested for a crime can be a frightening experience, but it is important to understand the process and your rights. One of these rights is the ability to post bail and be released from custody until your trial. Bail is essentially a guarantee that you will attend your Court hearings.
After you have been arrested, you will be taken into custody and brought to the police station or jail for booking. This is the process of recording your personal information, such as your name and address, and taking your fingerprints and photographs. This process can take anywhere from a few hours to a day or more, depending on the severity of the charges and the workload of the facility. Once you have been booked, a judge will determine your eligibility for bail and set the amount you must pay to be released. In some cases, the amount of bail may be predetermined based on the charges, but in others, the judge will set the amount based on several factors, such as your criminal history, the severity of the charges, and whether you are a flight risk. This hearing typically takes place within 48 hours of your arrest. There are some instances, however, where the Court may take longer to set your bond. This is especially true for more serious charges. A Judge can also grant a non-monetary bond such as a Release on own recognizance (ROR) or sign out bond. An ROR allows you to sign yourself out of jail with the promise to return to your court hearings. A monetary amount will still be attached if you fail to return. A sign out bond allows for a qualified person to sign you out of jail. The monetary amount attaches here as well and the person who signed you out will be liable if you skip bail.
Once your bail has been set, you or a loved one can post bail by paying the full amount in cash, by using property as security or by using a bail bond company. Since bail amounts tend to be high, most people opt to go through a bondsman. Bail bond companies usually charge a fee, typically around 12% of the total bail amount, in exchange for guaranteeing the full amount of bail to the court. This fee is non-refundable, even if you are found not guilty or the charges are dropped. If you or your family choose to pay the bond in cash, an attorney can assist you to have the funds returned once your case has been resolved. After bail has been posted, it may take several hours or more for you to be released from custody, as the jail staff must process the paperwork, verify the bail amount, and make sure all conditions of release are satisfied. If there are no other charges or court holds keeping you from release, you will be permitted to leave. Once released, you will be required to adhere to certain conditions of your bail, such as not leaving the jurisdiction, staying arrest and conviction free, staying drug free or meeting with a bond supervisor.
If you are unable to post bail, you will remain in custody until your trial. This can be a difficult and stressful experience, as you will be separated from your family and support system. An attorney can file a Motion for Bond Reduction and request that the Court consider lowering it to an amount that you can afford. In some instances, this will require a hearing and your attorney will be able to question law enforcement officers regarding the facts of your case and argue to the Judge why he should consider a lower amount.
The bail bond process in Louisiana can be complicated, but it is important to understand your rights and options. If you or a loved one has been arrested and is awaiting bail, it is important to work with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process and ensure that your rights are protected. Remember, the goal of bail is to ensure that you show up to court for your hearings and trials, and with the right guidance, you can navigate the process and secure your freedom until your case is resolved. Give our office a call today so that we can help you or your loved one return home.