Bond & Bail
If you are arrested in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, or any Connecticut city or town, then you will usually be processed at a police station where the police will determine the amount of a court appearance bond as a condition of your release from jail while your criminal case is pending. The amount of your Connecticut arrest appearance bond depends on many factors and circumstances specific to you and your case: Do you have a criminal arrest or conviction record? Do you live out-of-state? Do the arrest allegations against you suggest you are a threat to the safety of the community? Are you a flight risk? As the top Greenwich and Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyers will tell you, these are all factors which Stamford police, prosecutors and judges will consider in determining the amount and type of criminal appearance bonds to issue against you if you are arrested in Stamford or Greenwich for a misdemeanor or felony charge.
The criminal arrest process can take you by surprise and move quickly. Therefore it is absolutely critical in your Connecticut criminal case to understand your rights to a reasonable bond—or bail, as it is frequently called in court. To assist in the bail and bond process, we have tried to answer some of the most common questions related to posting bond or bail. Of course, if you are being investigated for a crime, or are in fact arrested in Stamford, Darien, Danbury, Greenwich, Ridgefield, or New Canaan for a misdemeanor or felony, we always encourage you to contact a top Stamford or Norwalk Connecticut criminal lawyer to learn more about the bail and bond process.Posting Bond or Bail in a Connecticut Criminal Case
Bond or bail is the amount of money a court or police officer orders you to pay over to the State of Connecticut to secure and guarantee your attendance at your criminal court appearances. While bonds in Connecticut cases are not intended to be punitive, the best Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyers and attorneys agree that courts will sometimes order high bonds when the allegations are particularly serious or violent, as in rape, murder, burglary and manslaughter cases. If you are arrested on-scene in Stamford, Darien, Greenwich or any other Connecticut city or town, then the arresting police department will set the amount of your bond. However, if the police have to gather evidence and arrest you through the warrant application process, then a Superior Court judge will set the amount of bond. Once that amount is posted to a police station, county jail, or the Superior Court criminal clerk’s office, then you can be released.What’s the Difference Between a Cash or Surety Bond?
Your first court appearance for an arrest in Stamford, Greenwich, Danbury, Darien or New Canaan is called the arraignment. And if you have not yet posted bond or been released from custody, then a Superior Court judge will hear oral argument on from your top Stamford criminal lawyer, the prosecutor, and a Bail Commissioner on the issue of bond and bail amount. The judge will then set the amount of bond and declare whether it is a cash bond, or a surety bond. A Connecticut “cash bond” is much more punitive, as it must be posted in full—in cash. In contrast, a “surety bond” can be signed for by a licensed Connecticut bail bondsman and you can hire any of the best Connecticut bail bond companies to assist you in posting a surety bond. The best Connecticut criminal lawyers and attorneys usually see cash bonds ordered when the allegations are particularly serious or violent, and there is a high risk of injury to either the community or the defendant (especially if they are battling serious drug or alcohol addiction problems). So if you have been arrested in Connecticut and a high cash bond is ordered, then you should contact a top Stamford criminal attorney to understand your options in getting it reduced or converted to a Connecticut surety bond.Do I Need to Hire a Bail Bondsman?
If you are arrested in Stamford, Norwalk, Greenwich and Darien Connecticut, and cannot afford to post the full amount of your surety bond, then you can hire a top Connecticut bail bondsman to post your bond for you. A bail bondsman will charge you a fee, which typically ranges from 5% to 10% percent of your bond amount. It could be more money if live out-of-state or cannot provide the bail bond company with sufficient security of collateral. This amount is nonrefundable and you do not get this money back at the end of your case. That’s because the Stamford Connecticut bail bondsman assumes all the risk associated with your appearing at court. If you do not show up to court for your case, then your bond may be forfeited, you can be re-arrested for Failure to Appear in Court in the Second Degree under CGS 53a-173, and you could be liable to your bondsman for the full amount of your bond. Additionally, you can be on the hook to the bondsman for the costs and fees associated with hiring a bounty hunter to return you to court. When asked for the names of the best bail bond companies in Connecticut, the Connecticut criminal lawyers at Mark Sherman Law regularly recommend the bail bond services of Moore Bail Bonds in Danbury and Stamford, Connecticut. We have found them to be the most responsive, professional, and affordable bail bond company in the area. They can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (203) 778-9145.If You Can’t Afford to Post Bond…Getting Your Bond and Bail Reduced at the Bond Hearing
Once you are arrested and taken to a Connecticut police station, the police will inform you of the amount of your bond. If you can afford to post the bond or bail, or if you hire a Connecticut bondsman to bail you out, then you will be given a date for your first court appearance—called the arraignment—which will usually be about 10 business days from the date of your arrest. This gives the police time to finalize and gather your arrest paperwork and deliver it to court. Sometimes, in addition to bail, the police will inform you of additional conditions of your release such as an order restraining you from having contact with a family member or third party, or prohibiting you from consuming alcohol or drugs.
If you cannot afford to post the bond amount in your Stamford or Norwalk arrest, or cannot afford a bail bondsman, or if you simply do not choose to post bond, you will be taken into custody at the arresting police station and brought to the closest Connecticut Superior Court on the next business morning for your arraignment and bond hearing. Prior to being arraigned before a Connecticut Superior Court judge in Stamford, Darien, or Greenwich, a representative of the Bail Commissioner’s Office will interview you in lockup to provide the judge and prosecutor with information that will assist them in setting the bond and bail amount in your case, as well as your conditions of release at your arraignment and bond hearing. The Bail Commissioner will consider the nature of the criminal allegations filed against you, your prior criminal record, your employment history, mental health history, ties to the community, and your financial resources, among other factors. With all these considerations at issue in your bond hearing, it is recommended to hire a top Darien, New Canaan or Stamford criminal defense lawyer to argue these points for you at your Stamford bond hearing.Consideration for Lowering Your Bond and Bail under Connecticut Law
Once the bond hearing begins, your top Stamford criminal attorney can argue for a reduction in bond. If you or your family did not yet hire a top Stamford or Greenwich criminal lawyer, then the Court will assign a public defender to assist you in moving the Stamford criminal court to reduce your bond. At this hearing, the Superior Court judge will review the criminal arrest charges against you and will listen to the recommendations from the Bail Commissioner’s Office. Then the judge will hear arguments from the prosecutor and your top Stamford criminal lawyer or court-appointed lawyer. The factors that the Connecticut judges are required to consider are listed in C.G.S. § 54-64a(b)(2) and include the following:
- the nature of the charges brought against you;
- your criminal conviction history;
- any history of your failing to appear in court in prior cases;
- your family ties to the area in which you have been charged;
- your financial resources;
- your overall character;
- any mental health conditions or disabilities;
- your ties to the community;
- the weight of the evidence against you in your criminal case; and
- the safety threat you pose to the community if released.
All of these factors are considered by the Superior Court in setting bond. As a result, your top Stamford criminal lawyer should discuss these factors with you prior to your Stamford bond hearing and should aggressively try to persuade the Court to lower your bond or reduce it to zero dollars, also called a conditional Promise to Appear (called a “PTA”) in court. The best Stamford criminal lawyers often try to reduce cash and surety bonds to PTAs by convincing the arraignment judge that you are not a threat, will engage in counseling or treatment while released, and are in no way a flight risk based on your family ties to the area and employment status.Can I Modify the Bond After the First Court Appearance?
If the Court issues a high bond at your arraignment, then your top Connecticut criminal attorney can file a motion during the pendency of your case to modify your bond, even after your first court appearance. The court is required to hold a hearing, during which your attorney will argue for a decrease in the bond amount. Your attorney can file a new motion to modify your bond every 45 days. If you or someone you know is in custody and cannot afford the bond amount set by the court, you should consider immediately contacting an experienced Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, Norwalk or Westport criminal attorney.Can the Prosecution Try to Raise My Bond?
Unfortunately, yes they can. As the best Greenwich criminal lawyers have observed, Stamford prosecutors will move the Court to raise your bond if you get arrested while your criminal case is pending. They also ask the Court to raise your bond if you are not complying with court-ordered conditions of release, such as drug testing, counseling, or no-contact orders. The prosecutors do not have the power to raise your bond. Only a Superior Court judge does. However, if the prosecutor provides notice to you that they are seeking to raise your bond, then you should contact a top Connecticut criminal defense attorney to assist you in opposing the prosecutor’s motion to raise your bond.When Can I Get My Bail Bond Money Back?
If you do not use a bail bondsman to post your bond, then you are entitled to have that money returned to you at the conclusion of your Connecticut criminal case. For cases that result in the granting of a pre-trial diversionary program such as the Accelerated Rehabilitation Program, the Drug Education Program, the Alcohol Education Program, or the Family Violence Education Program, you can get your bond money back on the court date when the diversionary program is granted by the Superior Court. Otherwise, you are entitled to your bond money when your case is nolled or dismissed, or when you plead out if your case results in a plea bargain requiring a criminal conviction. You can retrieve your bond money at the criminal clerk’s office and must present the clerk’s office with the bond receipt you received from the police department on the day of your arrest. If someone else posted the bond on your behalf, then they must appear at the criminal clerk’s office with the receipt after the court date. You are not permitted to get the bond money back for a friend or family member if bond is not in your name.Contact a Criminal Lawyer at Mark Sherman Law Today
So if you have been arrested in Ridgefield, Easton, Weston, Wilton, Fairfield, Stamford, Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien, or any other Connecticut town or city, or are subject to a police investigation which will likely result in an arrest, then you should give one of the experienced criminal lawyers at Mark Sherman Law a call today to learn more about the bail and bond process. Any of our criminal lawyers can walk you through the rules and procedures, answer your questions, allay your concerns, and connect you with a top Connecticut bail bondsman who can get you out of jail and back home as quickly as possible. We will help you determine what your bond amount is, assist you in the posting process, and, if necessary, argue on your behalf in court to lower your bond to an amount you can hopefully afford. Give us a call at (203) 358-4700 to learn how we can help you.Related Links: