Setting Bond in Louisiana
May 16th, 2022
Setting a bond in Louisiana
Setting bail, or bond, in Louisiana is mainly at the judge’s discretion. Clients often want their bond reduced; however, once set, it is often difficult to adjust that amount without presenting the court with a reason to justify a reduction.
Factors the court will consider
In Louisiana, there are several factors the court is required to consider when reducing the amount of the bond. They are:
- The seriousness of the offense charged, including whether this is
a crime of violence or a crime involving drugs;
- The weight of the evidence against the defendant;
- Previous criminal record of the defendant;
- The ability of the defendant to make bail;
- The nature and seriousness of the danger to any other person or the community that the defendants release would pose;
- The defendant’s voluntary participation in a pretrial drug testing
- The absence or presence in the defendant of any controlled dangerous substance;
- Whether the defendant is currently out on bail undertaking a previous felony arrest;
- Any other circumstances affecting the probability of the defendant’s appearance.
Purpose of setting a bond
The court sets a bond to ensure an individual will appear in court. If they fail to appear, the court will forfeit the money posted and issue a bench warrant. The law states the amount of bail shall be fixed and an amount that will assure the defendant’s presence, as required, and the safety of any other person and the community. The result of the discretion afforded a judge in setting the amount leads to wide discrepancies among the judges in an individual courthouse and different judicial districts. I often have clients facing similar fact patterns with vastly different bail amounts, the spread between the two can easily be $100,000.00. The discrepancy frustrates clients.
What do I do about this
The easiest way to obtain a downward deviation in a bail amount is to give the judge a reason to reduce the bond. Generally, I do not have a hearing on a bond reduction until we have the discovery in the case. Obtaining the discovery in the case allows me to test the strength of the case. Also, I need an opportunity to gather positive connections between my client to the community. The stronger ties a client has to the community, from the time they resided in the parish, family members, employment records, and organization affiliation, the stronger my chance of obtaining a reduction. These are all factors we can present to the court to justify reducing the bond amount.
If you or someone you know is arrested or needs a bond reduction, do not hesitate to contact the law office of Larrion L. Hillman at 318-549-9180. We will discuss the matter further, including the specific information required to increase the probability of getting the reduction. Larrion Hillman practices criminal defense in Caddo Parish, Bossier Parish, Shreveport, and Bossier City, Louisiana.