Bail is an amount of money placed as security with the court to assure that a person accused of a crime will return to court when needed.
Setting bail is at the sole discretion of the judges and commissioners of Criminal District Court. A judge or commissioner may also place conditions upon the accused, or refuse their release because of safety concerns to the community.
Whomever posts bail for a defendant assumes responsibility for a defendant’s appearance in court. If a defendant fails to appear as required, an arrest warrant is issued and the posted bail can be forfeited.
Bond amounts generally are set by a magistrate judge or commissioner at an initial court appearance within 72 hours of arrest.
Subject to restrictions imposed by state law and by a judge or commissioner, bail in Louisiana generally can be posted in the following manners:
- Cash bond – The cash amount of the bail is paid to the court
- Property bond – Property worth the value of the bail is deposited with the court
- Personal surety bond – A relative or friend signs the arrestee out of jail with a promise to pay if the defendant does not return to court as scheduled
- Recognizance bond – An arrestee signs himself out without having to pay upon their promise to return
- Commercial bond – A contract is signed with a commercial bondsman to secure release through the posting of bail