The five questions below are among the most commonly encountered in the bail bond business. We try to answer them as clearly as possible. However, if you have questions that are not answered here, or need a bail bondsman, feel free to give us a call at 860-247-2245.
5 Questions About Bail Bonds Answered
No, a bail bond is not refundable. If you use the services of a licensed bail bondsman, then the process works out cheaper and quicker because you don’t have to put up a bond, the bail bond company does it for a fee. The fee is a percentage of the bail amount, usually 10% or less in Connecticut. It covers the Bail Agent’s service who ensures the defendant attends all of their court dates. This fee is not refundable. Bail bonds fees are considered similar to non-refundable insurance premiums paid for your auto or life insurance policies.
2. Are bail bond fees tax deductible?
No, nothing about the bail bond process is tax deductible.
3. What is a bail bond hearing?
A bail bond hearing is scheduled so the defendant can request the court to release him or her on bail while awaiting the conclusion of the criminal case. The hearing involves a formal presentation of the charges, also known as the arraignment where the defendant is expected to plead either innocent or guilty. In Connecticut, you can expect the bail bond hearing to be conducted on the first day the court is open after an arrest. The hearing begins with a Bail Commissioner who recommends a bond amount and lets the court know the nature of the charges, the defendant’s criminal history and ties to the community. The Prosecutor then makes a recommendation for the bail bond amount and any other release conditions they may request and then the defendant’s lawyer presents favorable information about them and when necessary can back the claims up with evidence. After hearing both sides, the judge announces a decision and the defendant is released on their own recognizance or a bail bond amount is specified.
Factors that influence a court’s decision regarding bail include the nature of charges and severity of charges, previous run-ins with the law, strength of the defendant’s family and community ties as well as the defendant’s ability to pay for a bond.
Apart from deciding the amount, the judge may lay down conditions for release on bail. These could include prohibition from using firearms, consuming alcohol, possessing drugs, contacting a victim or reaching out to the complainant. The defendant will almost certainly be required to be present in the court for all of their hearings at dates appointed by the judge.
4. Are bail and bond the same thing?
While the terms bail and bond are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between the two. Bail refers to the amount of money a defendant must pay to be released from prison. A bond refers to a bail bond; this is usually furnished by a bail bond agency on behalf of the defendant.
5. What is bail/bond forfeiture?
If a defendant fails to appear in court they run the risk of bail/bond forfeiture. This means that the state issue a warrant for their arrest and demands the bail bond agency either pays the full bond or returns the defendant to court. According to baillaws.com, “Whenever an arrested person is released upon the execution of a bond with surety in an amount of five hundred dollars or more and such bond is ordered forfeited because the principal failed to appear in court as conditioned in such bond, the court shall, at the time of ordering the bond forfeited.”
When a defendant “skips bail”, a notice is sent out to the bond holder informing them of the failure to appear. The court also issues a stay of six months on the forfeiture. If the defendant is re-arrested within 6 months, the liability of the bond is considered satisfied and a new bond and conditions are set.
There are other exceptions to handling forfeitures. If the defendant returns to court voluntarily within 5 business days, the court may decide to vacate the re-arrest warrant and continue the bond depending on the circumstances leading to the missed appearance.
If the defendant is returned to the court within in 1 year of their disappearance the surety or bail bondsman, may receive a partial refund of the forfeited amount.