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Criminal Procedure and Bail in Louisiana

Posted by Aaron D. Lawrence | Oct 10, 2022 | 0 Comments

What is bail in North Louisiana?

Bail is a sum of money a defendant pays to be released from custody and remain in the community while their criminal matter is finalized. It is a form of pretrial release. 

Bail acts as a deposit to ensure a defendant attends their court hearings. A defendant posts bail by paying the required amount to the court. The court holds this money until the court hearing. 

If the defendant fails to attend a court date, they forfeit the money and may be sent back to jail. If a defendant complies with bail, the court returns their money at the end of their matter.

If you are facing criminal charges, it is important you have a defense attorney on your side who understands the law and who can help you fight to clear your name. Contact Lawrence Law Firm by either calling 318.232.4000 or filling out an online submission form today to schedule a Free Consultation

What is the difference between bail and bond in Louisiana?

‘Bail' and ‘bond' are often used interchangeably. Both allow a defendant to be released from custody while their charges are pending. But there is an important distinction between them. 

A bond acts as a guarantee, rather than a deposit. It's a promise made to the court by a third party, usually a bond company, to pay the bail amount on the defendant's behalf if they fail to attend court or breach another condition of their release. In return, the defendant pays the bond company a service fee, usually around 10 to 20% of the bail amount. 

How is North Louisiana bail decided?

Some jails have preset, non-negotiable bail schedules for common offenses. This allows defendants to post bail directly from custody, without the need for a court hearing.

Otherwise, bail is decided by a judge or court officer. A bail hearing usually occurs within 48 hours of a defendant being charged. 

When deciding bail, a judge will consider factors including:

  • the seriousness and circumstances of the allegations
  • the defendant's criminal history and their risk of reoffending
  • the defendant's flight risk, including their ties to the community

Although there are guidelines, a judge can set any amount of bail they see fit, as long as it's not objectively excessive. 

Possible outcomes of a bail hearing

The possible outcomes of a bail hearing are:

  1. the court releases the defendant without bail (on their own recognizance)
  2. the court grants the defendant bail, setting the amount the defendant is required to pay and any other conditions 
  3. the court denies bail and the defendant remains in custody until their court hearing

If a defendant is granted bail, they must comply with any conditions set by the court.

What happens if a defendant can't post bail?

If a defendant can't post bail, they will remain in custody until their court hearing. 

If a defendant cannot personally post bail, they may ask family or friends to help them. Alternatively, they can engage a bail bond company to post a bond on their behalf. 

What role does a defense attorney in North Louisiana play in bail?

When it comes to bail, the stakes couldn't be higher. If you are denied bail, you risk remaining in jail until your matter is heard. An experienced attorney can help you thoroughly prepare for your bail hearing to give you the best chance of release. That's why you need Lawrence Law Firm on your side.

An attorney can offer you advice based on your circumstances, gather the relevant information needed for a bail hearing, and help you make arrangements if you're unable to personally post bail. Call us today at 318.232.4000 or fill out our online form to schedule a Free Consultation.

About the Author

Aaron D. Lawrence

Aaron is a Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Attorney in Ruston, Louisiana. He received his Juris Doctor and Graduate Diploma in Comparative Law from the Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center. He received his Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences from the University of North Tex...

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