How Do Bail Bonds Work?

Guide to the Bail Bond Process

When someone is arrested for a crime, the judge has the option of setting a bail. The judge will determine the bail amount after examining various factors surrounding the arrest and defendant such as the alleged crime, facts in the affidavit of probable cause, defendant’s criminal record, where the defendant resides, and any other flight-risk factors. Basically, the more of a flight-risk the judge views the defendant, the higher the bail. The reason for this is because when the defendant posts bail, he is ensuring to the court that he will appear at the required court dates. So, if the defendant is willing to fork over money, then it is likely he will go to court so he will eventually get the money back after the case is over. If he does not go to court, the bond that was posted could be forfeited and it would go to the court. The defendant would then be required to post a second bond if the judge is willing to set another bail.

The More Serious the Charge, the Higher the Bail

The more serious the charge is, the higher the bail amount will be. If the defendant is facing a charge that carries prison time or even mandatory prison time, the judge will set the bail very high because the defendant becomes more of a flight-risk.  The judge knows the defendant may choose to just not appear at court and run off and hide. Therefore, judges typically do not set low bail for serious charges. Minor felony charges will have lower bail amounts ranging from $1000 – $5000. Misdemeanor charges such as simple assault may have bail amounts of around $500 – $2500. Many times, police officers will not even book an individual on a misdemeanor and just issue a summons to appear in court, therefore, no bail is set.

Options for Posting Bail

If you can’t afford to post a cash bond, which is posting the entire bail amount yourself at the jail, then you could hire a bail bondsman to post it. You would pay the bail bondsman 10-12% of the bail amount. That is his fee for putting up the entire amount. Therefore, you would not get that percentage fee back after the case. On the other hand, if you posted a cash bond, you would get the entire amount back after the case if the defendant shows up to his required court appearances.

Bail Bond Example

For example, let’s say the defendant is arrested in New Orleans, Louisiana for possession with intent to distribute cocaine (5 ounces). Let’s say the defendant’s address on his driver’s license is in Texas.  The judge has determined based on the facts and circumstances that bail should be $50,000.

Option 1

The defendant’s family/friends could pay $50,000 in cash to the jail and hope he goes to court so they can get the money back in the end. It is a risk for them. He is facing a charge that will be prosecuted firmly and carries prison time.

Option 2

The family/friends could hire a bail bondsman and pay him $5000-6000 to put up the entire $50,000. The bondsman will keep that $5000-6000 fee as his payment. So, the family will be out of that money.

Option 3

Do not post a bond. If it seems like the defendant may end up doing time anyway, it may be smarter to save your money and put it towards a criminal defense attorney so he can minimize the jail sentence or even beat the case.

Option 4

Try to get the bail reduced or a ROR bond, personal surety, or sign-out bond. Hire a criminal defense attorney to contact the judge. Depending on the bail amount and facts and circumstances, the attorney might be able to get a reduced bail. This will not happen in every case. The attorney would have to show some mitigating factors to the judge that he didn’t know about when initially setting the bail. 

How Do Bail Bonds Work?

Important Considerations

  • Is the defendant on parole or probation?

If so, there will likely be a hold, so posting bail is a bad idea since he won’t get out anyway.

  • Does the defendant have pending charges in that jurisdiction or elsewhere?

This is important because if he is already on bond and he gets a new arrest, that would be a violation of his bond conditions on the first case. Therefore, the prosecutor in the first case could move to have his bond revoked which would land him in jail. Posting bail on the second case would be pointless.

As you can see, there are many factors involved when deciding to bail someone out of jail. The bail bonds process is very simple on a case like a first-offense DWI but gets more complicated with more serious charges. Getting the help of a criminal defense attorney early on is the best option. We can help you figure out the best strategy.


How to Bail Someone Out of Jail in Louisiana

Bail Bond Process

It can be very stressful when a friend or family member lands in prison. Many people don’t even know the first step to getting someone out. In truth, there are many factors to consider when getting someone out of jail and that’s what we’d like to discuss with you today.

How is bail determined?

Generally, before someone can be released, bail must be set to assure the court that the arrestee will appear for court. Usually, a judge or magistrate sets the bail. The judge may consider the type of charge, the facts, the residence, and even the criminal background of the arrestee before setting bail. The amount of bail set by a judge is based on different factors, including the seriousness of the charge, the weight of the evidence, a previous criminal record, the ability to pay bail, the danger the defendant presents to the community, and any other circumstances affecting the probability of the defendant’s appearance.

Types of Bail

There are various different types of bail, too. These include those with a commercial surety, a secured personal surety, a cash deposit, an unsecured personal surety, or those without surety.

Once bail is set, the defendant can be bonded out. If you can’t afford to post the entire bond, you can hire a bail bondsman. He may require a fee of 10-12% for putting up the entire amount of the bond. The bondsman’s fee will not be returned. That is his fee for putting up the entire bond and assuming the risk that the defendant will appear in court.

The surety can also post a property bond. In this case, the surety agrees to place a mortgage on a piece of property in Louisiana. The property must be unencumbered in the amount of the bail.

Another option is to post bail as an unsecured personal surety. This requires an affidavit that you have enough property in the state. Usually, it also requires you to describe your work history and you must have a clean criminal record.

In some situations, the judge may allow someone to bail out of jail on their own recognizance without posting a bond.

You may also post the entire cash bond yourself at the jail. After the case has concluded, you should be entitled to all the money you put up. However, it must be ensured that the defendant will appear in court.

Probation or parole?

If someone is on probation or parole, a hold may be placed, barring their release. You wouldn’t want to post bond on the new charge if there’s a probation or parole hold, since they won’t be released and that would cause them to serve “dead time” on the new charge.

If there’s an active warrant for a defendant’s arrest, a hold may be placed. The warrant would need to be cleared before the defendant can be released on the new charge. This may require the defendant to appear before the judge that issued the bench warrant. In the event of an arrest warrant, the defendant may need to be transported to the jurisdiction of the arresting agency.

Contact the Louisiana criminal lawyers at the Barkemeyer Law Firm if you have a friend or loved one in jail or recently released.