Bail, Bond and Pretrial Release
Sweeping new reforms are taking effect in Connecticut’s bail bond system. As Connecticut bail bond lawyers, we want our clients to be aware of the new changes to the bail system and what to do if you or a loved one are under arrest or if you have an arrest warrant outstanding and need to arrange bond. No matter if you are arrested in Stamford, Norwalk or anywhere across the State of Connecticut you are going to have bail conditions of some degree. Bail conditions can range from a written promise to appear to a monetary bond. The new changes for 2020 allow everyone with a monetary bond under $20,000 to automatically have the right to post a refundable 10% cash bail with the police or clerk. This is a big transformation to the bail bond system and we are going to explore the advantages of posting a 10% cash bail and also explain the circumstances when you may want to go the traditional route of using a bail bond company to post what is known as a surety bond.
It is important to understand that before you speak to any police officer concerning your case you should first contact our office. Never try to talk your way out of a problem by speaking with the police. At the first sign that the police want to speak to you or that they have a warrant for your arrest you should refuse to answer any questions and demand your right to speak with a lawyer. You have the right to remain silent. Never answer any questions and refuse to consent to any searches of your home, vehicle or office. We are available 24/7 365 to assist people who are the subject of police investigations. Always speak with a Connecticut bail bond lawyer before you make arrangements to post a bond or surrender yourself to the police to make sure that your rights are protected.Ways That Bonds Are Set
Many people are aware the 8th Amendment to the Constitution states that an accused is entitled to a reasonable bail and to be released while their case is pending. All arrests in Connecticut are either initiated by the police directly through speedy information or through an arrest warrant that is signed by a Judge. If you are arrested by the police directly, then the desk sergeant will set the bond in your case based upon the charges against you, where you live, and your criminal record (if any). If you are unable to post the bond as set by the police you have a right to have the police bond reviewed by the bail commissioner. You are allowed to make a phone call from the Police station and you should contact our office so that we advocate on your behalf. The bail commissioner can go to bat for you and fight for a lower bond or even recommend a written promise to appear if they feel that you are likely to attend your court dates. If the bail commissioner tries to lower your bond the police can call the State’s attorney who can overrule the bail commissioner. While this is all going on it is a good time to “lawyer up” and retain the services of a Stamford criminal attorney to defend your rights.
When a Judge signs an arrest warrant the Judge can set the bond in the warrant in which case it can not be changed by the police or the bail commissioner. Another alternative is that the Judge may leave the discretion to the police as to the amount of the bond. If this happens then when you are in police custody you are back to the desk sergeant and the bail commissioner to set your bond at the police station. A lot of people who have arrest warrants are arrested by surprise and have little opportunity to prepare in advance. However, in many cases you will have advance notice that a warrant is in the works and you should immediately contact the services of a top Connecticut bail bond lawyer to get a free consultation to review your rights and best options to make the arrest process as simple and painless as possible. As soon as police contact you about a pending investigation, if they say they want you to come down and “give your side of the story” or what ever they tell you please resist the temptation to get out your position. Remember, everything that you say can and will be used against you. The best policy is always to remain totally silent and refuse to answer any questions. Let your Stamford criminal attorney do the talking for you.Ways to Post Your Bail or Bond
Technically “bail” is the conditions of your pretrial release which may range from something as modest as a written promise to appear at Court on a later date. A promise to appear is considered “bail.” The posting of cash is a form of “bail.” While a “bond” is a financial guarantee that takes the place of posting the bond in cash, such as a surety bond or a real estate bond. Most people use the terms bail and bond interchangeably although that is not entirely accurate.Cash Bail
You are always free to post the entire amount of your bond in cash. For large bonds over $20,000 some clients who are denied the 10% cash option by the Court may prefer to post the entire bond amount in cash rather than pay a premium to a bail bond company. Given the new bail reforms a cash bond is only going to apply to bonds over $20,000 and then again only for those clients who have the financial means to post such a large bond in cash.10% Cash Bail Option
The big change in Connecticut is that in every bond under $20,000, which is set by warrant or by the police, you can use the 10% cash bail option automatically. Previously, in order to use the 10% cash option, you had to wait for your arraignment and ask the court for permission. With the new changes to the Connecticut Rules of Practice the 10% cash option is automatic for all cases in which the bond is $20,000 or less. This means that you can post 10% of the amount of the bond and you will be released immediately and you will get back the full amount of the 10% cash that you posted at the time your case is concluded. As of this writing there is no ability to use credit cards or debit cards to post the 10% cash bail and you have to have the cash on hand to post at the police department or clerk’s office. I can imagine that this may present a problem for some people to find $2,000 in cash right away in the middle of the night but that is the way the 10% cash option works.
For large bonds over $20,000 I highly recommend that you contact a Connecticut bail bonds lawyer at the Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman to review the options to arrange for legal representation at your arraignment so we can convince the court to allow the 10% cash option in your case. For large bonds the difference in being able to get back that 10% at the end of the case can make a significant financial difference. We have been working with our clients now for quite some time on large bonds to have them surrender early in the morning and be presented at arraignment so we can argue to lower the bond amount and request the 10% cash option which saves our clients a lot of money that would otherwise go to bail bond agent premiums which are not refundable at the end of your case. For this reason, most of our clients prefer to utilize the 10% cash option on large bonds so they get their money back at the end of the case.Bail Bond Agent
Clients are already asking me “why should I use a bail bond agent when I can post the 10% cash option with the police station or court and get all my money back?” This is a great question. Unlike the 10% cash bond option, any premiums paid to a bail bond agent or company are never refunded. The premium paid to a bail bond agent is their fee for posting your bond and the bail bond agent is responsible to pay the entire amount of your bond if you fail to appear for court and the bail bond agent can not produce you.
So then why would you want to use a bail bond agent knowing that you are not getting that money back?
- Bail bond agents take credit cards – the police don’t – so a bail bond agent can take a credit card right away and have you free in about 30 minutes
- Bail bond agents can put you on a payment plan that only requires you to pay 35% of the 10% upfront and allow you to pay the balance off over 15 months on a payment plan
- On bonds over $20,000 bail bond agents charge only 7% of the total bond amount as their premium (which is less than 10%) and they can offer payment plans with 35% down
In certain circumstances the bail bond agent or company is an invaluable resource for people who are lacking the resources to put their hands on cash in the middle of the night or who just may not have the full amount of 10% bond available in cash. While the new bail bond reforms are certainly going to cut into the bail bond agents’ business significantly going forward it is important to understand that bail bond agents serve a very valuable and useful function and can be of tremendous utility if you find yourself locked up in the middle of the night on the weekend and need to use a credit card to post a bond.
We have some great bail bond agents that we work with regularly who have proven to be very reliable and trustworthy and we will work with our clients to coordinate arranging a bail bond agent if needed and making sure that your release from police custody goes off without a glitch.How We Can Get Your Bond Reduced at Your Arraignment
If you have been arrested by the Police and you feel the bond is too high (or if you are unable to post it) you have the right to have the bond reviewed at the next business day by a Judge of the Superior court at an arraignment. Everyone who is arrested by the police and detained on a bond is entitled to be arraigned as an “overnighter” the next day at court. You should retain a top Stamford criminal attorney to prepare for your bond argument at the arraignment. In many cases we are able to use mitigating circumstances to persuade the Judge to significantly lower the amount of the bond set by the police. While these arraignments must happen the very next day by hiring a private Stamford bail bond lawyer you can be assured that we can put the extra effort into preparing for the arraignment to make the most persuasive argument possible to lower your bond.
In addition, many clients who have pending arrest warrants with significant bonds will retain us to work to get their bonds lowered at an arraignment and seek the 10% cash option for cases with bonds over $20,000. The way this works is we have our clients surrender themselves to the police early in the morning and then we appear at the arraignment later that same morning to present the bond reduction argument. If you have an arrest warrant outstanding you should contact our office for a free initial consultation today to review your bail bond options and to explore the possibility of having your bond lowered at your arraignment.
An effective and skilled Stamford criminal attorney will get to know you as a person and be able to present a great mitigation argument to the Court and put a human face on your situation. Often arrest warrants and police reports which are reviewed by the State’s attorneys and Judges do not mention much if anything about the accused’s ties to the community, family members in the local area, employment, dependents relying on him/her, and other positive factors that are not readily apparent that can help convince a court to lower the bond or possibly allow a written promise to appear.Bail Reform – Right to Periodic Review of Bond
The Connecticut legislature passed a significant bail bond reform legislation statue in 2017 that provided for the right for detained suspects to have their bonds periodically reviewed. Those who are detained on a misdemeanor offense are entitled to a bond review hearing in 14 days if they have not been released from custody. Thereafter, they are entitled to have their bond reviewed every 30 days by right. For those charges with more serious felonies, they are entitled to have their bond reviewed every 45 days as a matter of right. If your loved one is being detained on a high bond perhaps you should give our office a call so we can explore the possibility of filing a motion to reduce the bond at a bond review hearing? We offer free consultations.Conclusion
The best approach to handling pre-trail release and posting of your bond is something you should discuss with an experienced Connecticut bail bond lawyer. With over 28 years of experience in defending criminal cases Attorney Allan F. Friedman will leave no stone unturned to defend your rights and obtain the best result possible. Our Stamford criminal defense law firm offers a free no obligation case evaluation so that we can review your legal rights and our defense strategy. To schedule your free consultation contact Allan F. Friedman at the Law offices of Allan F Friedman 24/7 at (203) 357-5555.