Understanding Bail Bonds

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After being arrested, you may be placed in jail for a number of hours, days, or even weeks. If the prosecution accepts the charges, you may have to stay in jail until you go to trial. However, if you post a bail bond, you may be released. Not everyone who is arrested is granted bond and to determine if you can pay bail, you will have to attend a bond hearing. Below, our Ouachita Parish criminal defense lawyer outlines what to expect at this hearing, and how bond is decided.

What to Expect at a Bond Hearing

Most bond hearings proceed very quickly. A judge will consider your charges, as well as your previous criminal history, if you have one. It is important to work with a criminal defense lawyer when attending a bail bond hearing. A lawyer will know which, if any, witnesses to call, and which documentation to bring. For example, pictures of family members who are dependent on you can help lower the amount of bail, making it more feasible for you to pay.

How Much is Bond?

Bond amounts are unpredictable, as they are set completely at the judge’s discretion. One of the main factors a judge will consider is whether you pose a danger to the community and if you are a flight risk. The court must be convinced that you will attend all future court hearings, and that you will not engage in any sort of criminal activity while on release. If you have missed previous hearings, warrants, or have a criminal record, the judge will set a higher bond amount. If you have been charged with a violent crime, the bond amount will also be higher than for a non-violent offense.

When posting bond, a friend, family member, or lawyer needs to bring the full amount of the bond to the court or jail. Bond amounts are sometimes very high, and people often cannot afford to pay them. In these cases, a bail bondsman is paid 12 percent of the bond amount, with some additional fees. All bondsmen charge the same fee, but they do have different ways of collecting it.

If the crime you have been charged with is of a non-violent nature, the judge will sometimes allow a family member to sign a surety. This person must live in the state of Louisiana and be a United States citizen. With a surety, no money is paid unless you fail to appear at your court hearing. If you do not attend the court hearing, the person who signed a surety is then responsible for paying the full amount of bail.

Our Criminal Defense Lawyer in Ouachita Parish Can Advise You of Your Legal Options

If you have been arrested, you have many options for posting bond but it is important to speak to an Ouachita Parish criminal defense lawyer. At Whiddon Criminal Defense, our experienced attorney can represent you during the bond hearing, advise you of your legal options, and give you the best chance of success. Call us now at 318-594-3592 or reach out to us online to schedule a free consultation.

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