Arrested - Now What?

How do I qualify for a public defender? 

You must be appointed a public defender by a judge.  This usually happens at First Appearances.  If the judge appoints OPD, you will be assigned an attorney within one business day of the appointment. If the judge does not appoint OPD to represent you, then you should try to hire a private attorney. Once you’ve discussed your case with private attorneys, if it becomes clear that you can’t afford to hire one, you should go back to your judge (or a family member, if still in jail) to explain why you can’t hire a private attorney and why you might need a public defender.  You will need to bring any and all documentation you have of your income (public assistance letters like a food stamps card or a section 8 voucher; check stubs from work; documentation of excessive bills you must pay). OPD can never provide an attorney to someone unless directly appointed by a judge.

Sometimes a judge may ask you to fill out an application with OPD to see if you qualify for a public defender. If that happens, come to our office and fill out the application with us. Once completed, bring the application back to the judge for review. Note that EVEN IF our office says that you qualify for a public defender, OPD CAN NOT give you a lawyer unless the judge appoints us to represent you.

How do I find specific courthouse information? 

For directions, hours of operation, contact information, court announcements and more, click

How do I bond someone out of jail?

Once a person is arrested, they typically have a bond set within 48 hours of the arrest. If the bond is not paid, the person stays in jail until the case is over (unless the judge issues a release for another reason, which is somewhat common in municipal and traffic court, but very rare with felonies). For more information on how to post bond, view our 'Bond Information' page.

How do I find out someone’s folder number in jail?

Call the sheriff’s main line at (504) 827-6777. This automated system will tell you their location and folder number - you will need the person’s name and date of birth.

Can someone call me from jail?

It depends. Once booked into jail, they should get to make at least one “free” call. They then are able to call collect once placed into their specific tier. If you have a land line or a house phone, they can make a collect call to it. Inmates can not call cell phones unless an account is set up on your phone. Information about how to do that can be found here:

If the person is in the Temporary Detention Facility (TDC), visit or call 1-800-943-2189
If they are anywhere else, visit or call 1-800-844-6591

How do I visit someone in jail?

In order to visit someone in jail in Orleans Parish, you need special permission and a “blue card” from the sheriff’s office and you can only go at specific times. Visitation times can be found by calling the sheriff’s main line at (504) 827-6777 and going through the automated system. To apply for a blue card, you simply need to fill out an application available in the lobby of the House of Detention (behind Municipal/Traffic Court), or in the sheriff’s office at 2614 Tulane Avenue (right next to Conchetta). You will need a state ID or driver’s license to request a visitation card. If approved, your blue card will be mailed to the address on your ID within about two weeks. You can be refused a blue card if you have certain prior criminal convictions, if the person in jail refuses your visitation, or if the person in jail already has three other people on their visitation list.

How can I put money on their books?

An inmate's “books,” otherwise known as their commissary account, is money for personal use to buy paper, stamps, envelopes, toothbrushes, better meals, and various other things allowed in prison. Without money on their books, an inmate cannot buy these products.

These are the places to add money to an inmate's books:

Cash Acceptor Kiosk Machines, which accept Cash or Debit Card, can be found at:

Temporary Intake Processing Center
730 S. Dupree St.
New Orleans, LA 70119

Westbank Office
3630 Mac Arthur Blvd., Suite E
New Orleans, LA 70114

You can also put money on an inmate’s books by mailing a money order only, not cash, to 3000 Perdido Street, New Orleans, LA 70119. You must include the inmate’s name, folder number, location, and monetary amount.

Can we write each other letters?

Yes. Someone in jail can write a letter to you provided they have the funds on their books. To write a letter to someone in jail, you need to address it like this:

Name, Folder Number, Location
3000 Perdido Street
New Orleans, LA 70119

Full instructions can be found here

Can I bring anything to them in jail?

Yes, but what you’re allowed to bring and when you’re allowed to bring it varies by facility. Click here for Inmate Package Information.

How do i get property from someone in jail?

Getting property from someone who has been arrested is called a "property release." Keep in mind that you can only get property that was with someone when they got arrested, and only if that property was NOT taken as evidence by the police. Normally you can do a property release to get things like car keys, wallet, and cell phone. Money will NOT be in someone’s property – if you have money on you when you get arrested, it either goes into evidence or it goes onto your commissary account in jail. In order to get someone’s property from jail, you will need to bring some form of photo ID. Once you have your photo ID ready, please follow the steps below.

  • Go to the Intake and Processing Center (Booking) at 730 South Dupre St.
  • Once there, walk to the back until you see a window to the left of a large green door.
  • Tell the person behind the window that you’re here to do a property release and have your photo ID ready. You only need to know the person’s name, but if you have their folder number you can use that too.
  • Fill out the form with the deputy.
  • Once you have completed this, the deputy will notify you when the property is ready for you to take.​
    • It normally takes a few hours for the jail to get the property for you, so it might be a good idea to go in the morning.

Someone got arrested and the police say I am the victim. How do I drop the charges?

You can’t drop the charges in a criminal case. In criminal court, it’s not the victim pressing charges against the defendant, but the State of Louisiana. The District Attorney decides whether to drop charges. If you think that the charges against someone have no merit and you are the person who the police say is the victim, you should get in touch with the defendant’s attorney to coordinate with the defense team before trying to talk to the DA or anyone else about getting the charges dropped. 

How do I find the status of a case?

By visiting the sheriff’s website, you can pull up the  Docket Master by the defendant's full name.

How do I pay fines and fees? 

CDC Fines and Fees:

Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 4 p.m. (except holidays)
(504) 658-9440

Collections is located on the first floor of Criminal District Court in room 100.
Payment Options: Cash or Money Orders only.
You can also mail fines and fees to: Criminal District Court Collections, 2700 Tulane Ave., New Orleans, La. 70119

Municipal Fines and Fees:

You can pay fines in person or via mail.

By mail -  send a money order for the full amount owed to:
Municipal Court of New Orleans Section < relevant section>
727 S. Broad Street
New Orleans, LA 70119

You should address it to the relevant court section and if possible, include the case # on the money order or on an accompanying note. Follow up with the clerk's office to ensure they received it by calling (504) 658-9700.


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Orleans Public Defenders
2601 Tulane Avenue
Suite 700
New Orleans, LA 70119
    Tel: (504) 821-8101
    Fax: (504) 821-5285