by attorney André Bélanger
Everyone charged with a non-capital offense is eligible for bail in Louisiana. Louisiana offers 4 different methods for posting bail that allows people with different financial capabilities to be released from jail while their case is pending.
This is the simplest method to explain. Here, someone deposits the entire bail amount with the sheriff. When the case is over, the entire bail amount will be returned so long as the defendant has made all court obligations. Many courts allow the defendant, provided he posted the bail, to forfeit portions of the cash bond to satisfy any court costs and fines imposed upon him upon conviction.
This is the most common form of bail. Here, you pay a bail bondsman 12% of the bail amount and he will execute an insurance contract and post a bond for the entire amount. Unlike cash bonds, you do not get the 12% paid to the bondsman back upon the conclusion of the case. That amount his both his fee and a premium for the bail contract. The 12% fee is set by the insurance commissioner and is mandated by law.
You may post the the equity value of any piece of immoveable property located within Louisiana to satisfy a bail obligation. The amount of equity available is simply the assessed value minus any mortgages or encumbrances. The costs for posting a property bond are quite low and is often simply a few hundred dollars to record the lien.
This can be in the form of a sign out bond in which a friend or family member promises the defendant will make all court appearances. Or, it is in the form of an ROR or recognizance bond by which the offender himself promises to make court. The surety is liable for the bail amount if the defendant flees. This type of bond is normally available to non violent first offenders. In many instances, the signator need to establish a stable work history and good moral character.