The bail system involves an undertaking guaranteeing the appearance of a defendant in court at the time affixed by the judge. The bail bond company and its agents guarantee to the court to have the defendant appear when required to do so.
In order for a defendant to be released from jail, he or she must post with the court the total amount of the bail in cash, to secure his or her return to court on a fixed date, and thereafter until the case is exonerated. Many people unfortunately do not have the cash available to post the total amount of the bond. This is when a surety bond could be used to post the defendants bail in place of the cash bond. This process requires a contractual agreement between the bail bond company and courts that states the defendant will appear at all stages of court proceedings and that failure to do so will cause the bail bond company to pay the total amount of the bail bond to the court. The bail agent’s guarantee is made through a surety company which has adequate assets to satisfy the total amount of the bond.
For this service, the defendant is charged a premium of 12% of the total amount of the bond. This rate is regulated and required by the Louisiana Department of Insurance. Normally, before being released from custody the defendant, relative or friend of the defendant will contact the bail bond agent to arrange for the posting of the surety bond. Before the bond is posted, the defendant or co-signor must guarantee to the bail bond company that they will pay the full amount of the bail and any expenses occurred if the defendant fails to appear in court.
Typically, a family member or friend of the defendant will co-sign the defendant’s bond. Co-signors are generally required to produce a form of income, and have been employed on the same job for 3-5 years