Misdemeanor or felony, your life has been turned upside down by arrest. First, your family has to worry about a bond. If they use a bondsman, they will have to put up 12% of the bond. This is non-returnable. By hiring an attorney before posting a bond, an attorney may be able to get the bond reduced, get the defendant released on his own recognizance, or help with a property bond.
A property bond is like a refundable mortgage to the Parish. If the person arrested shows up for court, the bond is released after trial, plea or dismissal with $0 out-of-pocket expense. A condition of your bond will be to not leave Louisiana. If your job or school requires travel, you will need an attorney to get this restriction lifted or changed. As a condition of your bond, you be subject to drug testing. An attorney can help you protect yourself from false positives. A forfeiture notice may be mailed or handed to you at your release from jail. The forfeiture can be challenged by your attorney only within 30 days of the notice.
The charge may be a drug charge, crime of violence, sex offense, property crime, economic crime, DWI/DUI or another offense. It will be screened by a senior assistant district attorney, who will make the decision about which charges will be accepted or refused, sent to a grand jury or a bill of information issued, dismissed or referred to diversion.
Next comes arraignment. For a felony, the case will be assigned to a division for trial. The assistant district attorney in that division may make a plea offer, or decide to multi-bill the accused as a habitual offender. Multi -bill means that the minimum sentence will be increased.
Preliminary examination, Motion to Suppress, Lunacy Hearing and other Motions hearings follow. Exhibits must be viewed, witnesses interviewed, lab test results reviewed, photographs, videos & recordings turned over to the defense attorney in discovery. Defense experts may need to examine or test the State’s evidence. Before trial one or more pre-trial conference will follow and there may be several if other cases are tried ahead of yours.
There may be several continuances of trial also because there are cases set for trial ahead of yours. But delay is good for your defense in many ways, evidence may be lost, witnesses may lose interest or move, law enforcement may retire or move. Trial will be with a judge if it’s a misdemeanor. For a felony, there is the option of a jury.
If the outcome is unfavorable at trial, sentencing will follow. There can be a hearing to mitigate the sentence. An appeal can be taken following trial. Expungement may be available if a plea offer is accepted and if the case is dismissed, diversion is offered and completed, or if the case is taken to trial and reaches a not guilty verdict.
The attorneys at Ellen Cronin Badeaux, LLC, at 985-892-1955, have 27 years of criminal law experience in the cities of Amite, Baton Rouge, Bogalusa, Chalmette, Clinton, Covington, Denham Springs, Donaldsonville, Franklinton, Gonzales, Greensburg, Gretna, Hammond, Kenner, Livingston, Madisonville, Mandeville, Metairie, New Orleans, St. Francisville and Slidell in Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Jefferson, Livingston, Orleans, St. Bernard, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, West Feliciana and Washington Parishes.