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Appearance Bonds

When someone is arrested, there is an option of bail. A bail bond is a promise to appear to answer criminal charges. A bond is forfeited if the defendant does not appear at all appointed court hearings. 

The only time bail may be refused is if the court decides that the person is a danger to society or a flight-risk. (A flight-risk is
someone who has the resources and the motivation to leave the area or the country to evade prosecution.) When the court determines that the person is not a flight-risk or a danger to society, the judge will set bail. Bail is the amount of money or property left with the court, with the understanding that it will be forfeited by the defendant if he does not return for the court date that will be given to him once bond has been posted.

The person posting bond is also called the surety and must have a proper picture ID.

A bond fee for St. Helena Parish is $30.00 for all types of bonds. 

There are different types of bonds as listed below:

  

Cash Bond  

A surety can post a bond in cash for the full amount of the bond. For large bonds, coming up with that much money can be quite difficult. The advantage is that the money may be returned or put toward any fines or restitution once the case is over.

The Sheriff's Ofice will accept only the following as cash bond: cashier's checks, money orders or United States currency.

Property Bond

Posting a property bond means that the surety pledges the value of property to the court to guarantee the defendant will appear in court. If the defendant does not come to court for the scheduled date, the court will take the posted property as if it were cash bail.

 

Posting a property bond can be an advantage in that no money is required except the $30.00 bond fee. The person putting up the property must obtain an assessment certificate from the St. Helena Parish Assessor’s Office showing the value of the property and then a mortgage certificate from the St. Helena Parish Clerk of Court’s Office. The mortgage certificate shows any outstanding mortgages, if any, against the property.  If there are any, then that amount is subtracted from the value of the property leaving the amount (equity) that can be used for the bond.

 Bail Bondsman  

A bail bondsman who is licensed in St. Helena Parish can be obtained to post a bond.  Bondsmen charge a fee to sign onto your bond. This fee is not refundable
 

If an individual does not have enough cash or property to post bail, he can use a bond company. The bond company pays the bond for the individual and charges a fee which is a percentage of the bond amount. The bond company will get the bond money back if the defendant shows up for his scheduled court date. The bond company does not want to lose the bail money, so it usually makes certain that the defendant has a co-signer who is capable of paying the bail money back if the defendant skips town.  The co-signer is usually a friend or family member and is responsible for the full amount if the defendant does not show up on his court date.  

Signature Bond

 

Sometimes an official will grant a signature bond which requires no collateral.  Typically the defendant is a low "flight risk." Many factors are taken into consideration such as the length of time living in the area, employment situation, character, type of crime and similar factors.

 

However, the individual signing the signature bond must realize that he is ultimately responsible for the amount of the bond and once he signs that bond, he is assuring that the defendant will appear in court on the scheduled date. If the defendant misses the court date, then the surety on the bond is responsible for the full amount of the bond.

 

Transferrable Bonds

 

If a person has been arrested in another parish for an offense that occurred there, and a person owning property in St. Helena Parish wants to post that bond, then the guidelines are basically the same as the ones for a property bond. 

 

After the bond has been signed by the Sheriff or Chief Deputy, all the paperwork must be taken back to the St. Helena Parish Clerk of Court Office to be recorded. 

 

In some instances, a judge’s signature may be required which will be the surety’s responsibility to obtain. Then the bond will be taken by the surety to the arresting parish.

 

If a person has been arrested in St. Helena Parish and the surety has property in another parish, then the surety must contact the other parish for the particulars regarding their guidelines.  The paperwork is then brought to St. Helena Parish and must be signed by the defendant.

 

 

 

 

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