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From the Desk of Sheriff Bobby J. Guidroz



Arrested.  The unthinkable has happened and you’ve been handcuffed, read your rights and booked at the local jail.   What happens next and how soon can you be released?

In this 3 part series, we’re going to discuss the judicial proceedings, how your bail amount is determined by the judge and the court proceedings.

In any parish jail, the whole process begins with the Intake department.

The arresting officer has filled out all of the booking paperwork which states the charges against you and the report that supports the charges.  Once the intake department has entered you into the system, they will now complete the magistrate form and attach the warrant of arrest that has been signed by a judge on a previous date.  These papers will be submitted to the judge.

If a person is arrested without an arrest warrant, then the arresting officer shall promptly complete an affidavit of probable cause supporting the arrest of the person.  This probable cause must be submitted to the judge and the arrested person shall be entitled to a determination of probable cause within forty-eight hours of arrest.  The probable cause determination shall be made by a judge.

According to Article 230.1 Paragraph A of the Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure, the sheriff or law enforcement officer having custody of an arrested person shall bring him promptly, and in any case within seventy-two hours from the time of the arrest, before a judge for the purpose of appointment of counsel. Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays shall be excluded in computing the seventy-two-hour period referred to herein.  The defendant shall appear in person unless the court by local rule provides for such appearance by telephone or audio-video electronic equipment. However, upon a showing that the defendant is incapacitated, unconscious, or otherwise physically or mentally unable to appear in court within seventy-two hours, then the defendant’s presence is waived by law, and a judge shall appoint counsel to represent the defendant within seventy-two hours from the time of arrest.

This court appearance is called the Magistrate Hearing.  During this hearing, the judge will confirm all personal information that has been supplied by the defendant, which includes name, date of birth and social security number.  The judge will also ask about income and number of dependents in the household.  At this appearance, if a defendant has the right to have the court appoint counsel to defend him, the court shall assign counsel at this time. The court may also, in its discretion, determine or review a prior determination of the amount of bail.

Article 230.1Paragraph C states that if the arrested person is not brought before a judge in accordance with the provisions of Paragraph A of this Article, he shall be released on his own recognizance.

The above information is intended for information purposes only and not for legal advice. For legal advice, consult an attorney. Questions can be submitted to