David E. Stanley APLC

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David E. Stanley APLC

In order to understand how the process of bail works in Louisiana, it is important to understand the purpose of bail and the different types of bail. Bail is the security provided by a person charged with a crime to assure his appearance before the proper court whenever it is required. There are five types of bail in Louisiana. These include bail with a commercial surety, such as a bail bonding company; bail with a secured personal surety; bail with an unsecured personal surety; bail without surety, with or without security, and bail with a cash deposit.

Some people wonder whether or not they will have to post the full amount of bail in cash, and the answer is no; there are other alternatives. For example, if it is a minor offense and there is no prior record, the judge may release the person on a signature bond, which is what we call “released on your own recognizance.” This means that the person promises to appear in court for all of their court dates without posting any security. If it is a more serious crime, or they have prior convictions, then the judge may fix a cash bond amount. Property that the defendant owns can be posted as security for the bond, or a commercial surety can be used.

When setting a bond, the judge considers several factors, ten of which are enumerated in the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure. These factors include the level of severity of the offense, including whether it is a crime of violence, the weight of the evidence against the defendant, the defendant’s previous criminal record, the financial ability of the defendant to give bail, and whether the defendant is a danger to any other person or the community at large. Judges will often set higher bail in cases that involve drug trafficking if they believe that a large quantity of drugs is involved and the person represents a danger to the community at large. In setting bail, judges will consider factors that increase the probability that the defendant will show up for all court appearances, and factors that indicate that the defendant might flee or fail to appear. If the bail set by the judge is more than the defendant has the financial ability to pay, then an experienced attorney can help by filing a motion to reduce the bail amount to an amount the defendant is able to afford.

Once I Am Out Of Jail, What Should I Expect To Happen?

Once a person is out of jail, they should expect to have an arraignment, which will be their first court date. Hiring an experienced attorney should be one of the first steps taken. At the arraignment, the judge will read the charge against the defendant and ask them how they plead. At that point, most people enter a plea of not guilty. In Louisiana, the defense attorney would then have 15 days to file pre-trial motions in the case, whether those motions be for case discovery, preliminary examination, an attempt to suppress evidence or quash the charges altogether. Those motions will be set for a hearing after the state has had an opportunity to respond. Once the motions have been decided, the case may be set for trial. If the case goes to trial and results in a conviction, then a sentencing date would be set.

Should Someone Ever Throw Themselves At The Mercy Of The Court If They Feel Guilty?

If a person is facing a very minor offense, then it might make sense to plead guilty rather than to spend the money and go through the emotional upset required to fight the case. However, I would caution anyone and everyone to sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney before making a decision to plead guilty. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to provide quality advice on the law applicable to their particular situation, and it is important that they follow that advice. Sometimes, there are procedural defects, grounds to suppress evidence, or defenses that the person charged with the crime does not know about, and there are other factors present that may determine whether or not a conviction would ultimately result. For example, if the initial stop that led to an arrest was invalid, then the evidence seized during that arrest may be suppressed and, in the absence of that evidence, there would be no conviction.

Do Most Criminal Cases Go To Trial Or Do Most Settle Outside Of Court?

Most criminal cases are resolved before trial, either through pre-trial diversion, a voluntary dismissal by the prosecution, a dismissal granted by the court when ruling on a pretrial motion, a negotiated plea agreement to a lesser charge with a suspended sentence, or some other resolution that the client feels is just. However, if a client claims innocence and denies guilt, then the case will go to trial.

For more information on Process Of Bail In Louisiana, a case evaluation and strategy session is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (225) 306-8881 today.

David E. Stanley

(225) 306-8881