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Bond Reduction Attorney

Bond Reduction Attorney Lafayette

If you’re facing a large bail or bond, having a criminal defense attorney on your side can make a difference in your life and that of your family.

If you happen to find yourself on the wrong side of the law, a bond reduction or bail reduction attorney may be able to help you get out from behind bars quickly, and just as importantly, without breaking the bank.

Chad Ikerd has spent years working to help get bonds reduced for people in the Lafayette and Acadiana regions.

Hiring an experienced bond reduction attorney, like Chad Ikerd, can help you get your bond amount lowered. The Ikerd Law Firm will fight hard to make sure that you or your loved one’s bail/bond is set at a rate affordable enough that you can get out of jail and back to your normal life while awaiting the resolution of your case.

 

How Can a Lafayette Bond Reduction Attorney Help?

Man opened pockets and wallet no moneyOur team at the Ikerd Law Firm is here to help defendants who may be unable to afford the full amount of bail that has been set in their case.

We can file a motion with the Lafayette and South Louisiana courts to request a reduction of bail.

We will present evidence and arguments in support of the motion, explain why the bail is currently too high for the charges and the resources of the client, who is unable to pay the full amount of bail and request that the bond be reduced to a more affordable amount.

Our team takes this job seriously. We meet with our clients as quickly as possible to determine what evidence we need to gather.

We interview witnesses and family members who can testify on the client’s behalf. We draft a motion specifically addressing the relevant factors in the Code of Criminal Procedure.

And we prepare for a hearing and the opportunity to explain to the court why a lower bail amount should be set.

Oftentimes, a bail/bond reduction hearing is the first time you can find out the strength of the State’s case. The State may offer evidence in the hearing that can help you understand what you are facing.

But this can also be used to prove that the current bond is too much considering the nature of the case, the strength or weakness of the evidence, and the client’s criminal history.

A bail/bond reduction attorney can also assist the defendant in understanding the bail process, including the surety bond system or other forms of surety the court may accept as a bond.

 

Can an Attorney be Hired Only for a Bond Reduction Hearing?

Yes! At the Ikerd Law Firm, we are often hired to represent someone for the limited purpose of filing a motion for a bond reduction and conducting a hearing on the motion.

This may occur for several reasons, including that our client feels the charges will ultimately be dropped, but they do not want to wait in jail until that happens. Thus, instead of retaining the Firm to represent them at a later court hearing on the charge, the representation is more narrow and extends only to the bond reduction motion and hearing.

Typically, representation for only one bond reduction motion and hearing is cheaper than full representation throughout the trial court process. Because less time is required on the limited motion, our fees are reduced for this type of representation.

Of course, when we are hired early enough, the Ikerd Law Firm also includes a bond reduction motion in the scope of our services when full representation is desired.

 

What is a Motion to Reduce Bail?

A motion to reduce bail is a request made to the court by a defendant who is unable to afford the full amount of bail that has been set in their case by a judge or magistrate.

The motion explains why the defendant is unable to pay the full amount of bail and requests that it be reduced to a more affordable amount.

The judge will consider the defendant’s financial resources and any other relevant circumstances in deciding whether to grant the motion and reduce the bail amount.

If the motion is granted, the defendant must pay the reduced bail amount in order to be released from jail.

 

What is the Purpose of Bail or Bond?

The primary purpose of bail is to ensure that someone shows up for their appointed court dates and does not try to flee and avoid court–and possible incarceration if found guilty.

While most people’s word that they will come to court is all that is needed, that is not always the case. Many people miss their court dates because they are scared and run, or simply forgot.

Thus, anything that would demonstrate someone is not likely to come to court if released from jail pre-trial, will usually lead to a higher bond (prior bench warrants, serious charges, strength of evidence).

 

Factors that May Impact a Judge’s Decision on Whether to Reduce Your Bond

In deciding whether to grant the motion and reduce the bail amount, the judge will consider a variety of factors, including the defendant’s ties to the community (such as family, employment, and property ownership), the accused’s history of failing to appear in court, and any other relevant circumstances.

In Louisiana, you can look up the factors a court will consider because they are written in the Code of Criminal Procedure for all to see.

 

LA. Code of Criminal Procedure Article 316 – Factors in Fixing Amount of Bail

The amount of bail shall be fixed in an amount that will ensure the presence of the defendant, as required, and the safety of any other person and the community, having regard to:

Man behind bars

  1. The seriousness of the offense charged, including but not limited to whether the offense is a crime of violence or involves a controlled dangerous substance.
  2. The weight of the evidence against the defendant.
  3. The previous criminal record of the defendant.
  4. The ability of the defendant to give bail.
  5. The nature and seriousness of the danger to any other person or the community that would be posed by the defendant’s release.
  6. The defendant’s voluntary participation in a pretrial drug testing program.
  7. The absence or presence in the defendant of any controlled dangerous substance.
  8. Whether the defendant is currently out on a bail undertaking on a previous felony arrest for which he is awaiting institution of prosecution, arraignment, trial, or sentencing.
  9. Any other circumstances affecting the probability of the defendant’s appearance.
  10. The type or form of bail.

 

Explanation of Key Factors Affecting Bail Reduction Decisions

  • The nature and circumstances of the offense charged – understandably, one of the most important factors is the seriousness of the charge against a person. Generally, crimes of violence will have higher bond amounts than non-violent property crimes. This is because someone arrested for a violent crime is statistically more likely to cause violence and threaten the community.
  • The defendant’s past record of appearing in court as required – an equally important factor is if someone has a long history of not appearing in court when subpoenaed. If you have a long history of bench warrants or fugitive warrants, you are essentially telling a future judge that you cannot be trusted to show up in court when you are told. This often leads to higher bail amounts in the future and even a denial of a bond completely.

The inverse of this can also be a mitigating factor–if someone has always appeared in court, they are less of a flight risk, and their bond should be lower.

  • The weight of the evidence against the defendant – the strength of the State’s case against a defendant is a factor in setting the bail. The theory is that the more likely the State is going to be able to convict someone, the more incentive that person has to not come to court and risk going to jail.
  • The defendant’s ties to the community – the more financial, social, employment, or family ties to the geographical area where the court is located, the better. The theory is that someone is less likely to flee and have help fleeing the jurisdiction of the court if they have something to lose (your house, your job, your family).
  • The defendant’s mental condition and any history of drug or alcohol abuse – sometimes this factor can be both an aggravating or mitigating factor, depending on the case. If a judge feels someone with mental health or substance abuse issues needs treatment, a skilled bond reduction attorney can negotiate to find a facility or treatment plan to offer as an alternative to a high bond and remaining in jail.

However, if the judge feels a person will not take advantage of such a program, then a judge could believe that maintaining a high bail amount is the only way to protect society and the defendant.

  • The safety of the community and any victim – if a judge believes a person continues to pose a threat to the community or a victim, the less likely they are to reduce the bond
  • The ability of a defendant to pay a bond amount – the ability of someone in jail to pay the bail amount is a factor in determining what a fair bond amount is, but it is only ONE factor in that equation

 

Are There Alternatives to a Cash Bond?

Yes! An experienced bond reduction attorney will be able to identify opportunities to negotiate with the prosecution and trial judge to find ways, other than posting a cash bond, for someone to be released from pretrial detention.

The Ikerd Law Firm prides itself on thinking creatively to find solutions to problems, and the bond reduction process is a great example. We have helped clients find addiction and mental health treatment programs, that once completed, have led to bail being reduced.

We have also helped educate clients and their families on other sources of surety that a judge may accept, including personal surety by a third person, property bond, or home monitoring.

Since the purpose of a bond is to ensure that someone will appear in court, oftentimes a GPS monitoring service can provide the same surety and security to the court that a bail bondsman would be able to provide.

 

Bond Reduction Attorney in Lafayette and Acadiana

Don’t Let a High Bond Keep You Behind Bars While You Await Trial 

If you or a loved one is in need of a bond reduction in Lafayette, Vermilion, Acadia, St. Martin, Iberia, St. Landry, or Jefferson Davis Parishes, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Ikerd Law Firm today for the experienced representation you deserve.

Our team can evaluate your situation and determine what options are available for reducing your bond and getting you or your loved one released from jail as soon as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have been arrested in Lafayette, LA, you may hear that you automatically get a bond reduction. This is not technically true. I would know, because as the supervisor in the public defender’s office for over a decade, it was my job to set up the system and fight to get bond reductions within a week of someone’s incarceration.

Generally, those represented by the public defender’s office will be on a bond reduction list within a week of their incarceration and someone will try and negotiate with a rotating prosecutor for a bond reduction.

There is no hearing involved in this process, only a joint stipulation. This means that if the prosecutor does not agree to the reduction, it is not granted. Hopefully, this will resolve most issues and allow people to bond out and get back to their lives while they await trial.

However, oftentimes the prosecutor is either not able to agree to a reduction or the reduction that was granted was not sufficient enough to bond out.

This is where a skilled and experienced bond reduction attorney can help by filing a motion for a bond reduction and scheduling a hearing that will allow your family to testify on your behalf and evidence good for your case to be presented as mitigating evidence.

In Louisiana, it is typical for a bail bondsman to charge anywhere between 12 and 13% of the total bond amount. This can be negotiated down, but that is the typical rate.

It is important to remember that any money you pay to the bondsman to post a bond is not returnable to you or your family. That is the cost of processing the insurance policy and administrative fees. Thus, even if you go to trial and win, proving your innocence, you will lose that money.

When you are arrested your initial bail can be set in multiple ways

If you were arrested pursuant to an arrest warrant, the judge or magistrate would typically assign a bond amount at the time they signed the warrant.

If you were arrested without a warrant, the arresting officer would then cement an affidavit of arrest to a judge who would then review the affidavit and assign a bond amount depending on various factors, including the charge at arrest.

In Louisiana, it depends on what type of bond or surety you posted on whether you will get your bond back if your case is dismissed.

If you go to a bondsman or commercial surety, and pay them a portion of the total bail amount to post a bond, that payment is nonrefundable.

If, however, you post a non-traditional surety such as a property bond, you will get your property or title to your property back at the conclusion of the case so long as the defendant appeared for all court dates, regardless of whether they are ultimately found guilty at trial or not.

The terms bail and bond are often used interchangeably. However, they are different.

“Bail” is the security given by a person to assure a defendant’s appearance before the proper court whenever required. In other words, it is the money a defendant must pay to get out of jail. La. Code of Criminal Procedure art. 311.

“Bond” is the “thing” posted to secure the release of the defendant.

The Criminal Code of Procedure article 321 lists the different types of bail:

  1. Bail with a commercial surety – bondsman
  2. Bail with a secured personal surety – property bond
  3. Bail with an unsecured personal surety – “signature bond”
  4. Bail without surety – “own recognizance bond”
  5. Bail with a cash deposit – cash bond

 

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