Connecticut Criminal Defense: Bail Law and Procedure
Ideally, if you’re arrested, you will be released upon a written Promise to Appear. That means that you don’t have to pay any money or use a bail bondsman. You simply promise that you’ll show up in court when you’re scheduled to show up.
If you’re not issued a Promise to Appear, Connecticut law provides for the absolute right to bail. This means that you cannot be held in jail without some terms or conditions that will permit you to be released.
It goes without saying that the absolute right to bail is extraordinarily important for people who need to return home, get back to their families, their children and get back to work.
Connecticut law prevents a judge from requiring a money-only-bail for a person who has been charged with a misdemeanor. The exceptions to this rule are for the following individuals and allegations: (1) family violence; (2) flight risk; (3) likelihood to obstruct justice; (4) likelihood to harm themselves or others.
Connecticut judges are not permitted to set a cash-only bail, which is when a defendant is required to pay the full amount of the bail in order to be released from jail. So, every defendant has the right to have at least a portion of their bail set as a surety bond; in other words, posting bail through a bail bondsman.
Depending upon the amount of bail, Connecticut bail bondsmen charge a non-refundable fee of between 7 and 10 percent or the total bail amount.
If you are held in jail, unable to make bond and you’re charged with misdemeanors, Connecticut law requires that a bail hearing be conducted within fourteen days of your arraignment. At any subsequent bail hearings, unless the court determines that the defendant is a flight risk or a danger to the community, financial conditions to release must be removed.
So, what about those conditions cited above, that might keep someone in jail? I’m talking especially about flight risk, the likelihood to obstruct justice and the likelihood of harm to the defendant, themselves, or to others.
Those dangerous claims are what an experienced criminal defense attorney must be prepared to confront head-on at a bail hearing.
Your lawyer should be prepared, if possible, to pack the courtroom with friends, relatives and employers to show ties to the community. If someone is in school, or caring for a child or an elderly person, produce documentation of those very important roles to the court.
If possible, call witnesses who can attest to the client’s reliability, peacefulness and their ability to comply with court orders.
Bail is supposed to not be punitive. It’s not designed to punish people, but the fact is that it can do exactly that; by keeping people from their families, from work and frequently causing them to lose their jobs altogether. This is why bail hearings are so crucially important and often require the rapid and thorough investigation and preparation that only a professionally staffed law firm can provide.
If you or a loved one are preparing to turn themselves in for a criminal matter or if they have just been arrested and need aggressive representation at their bail hearing, call The Maddox Law Firm today.