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Like every other state, Connecticut has their own laws in relation to bail and regulating bail bond agents. If you or someone you know has been arrested and issued a bond for release, it may be helpful to understand CT bail laws and how they might affect you.
What You Need to Know
About Bail Bondsmen in CT
Bail agents must be licensed
Bail bondsmen in Connecticut must be licensed to operate. Upon receipt of an application, the Connecticut Insurance Department (CID) will check for any previous convictions or charges. In Connecticut, registered bondsmen are required to have their fingerprints and photo id taken for a criminal history record check with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Applicants must complete a course on the criminal justice system and complete at least 20 hours of study. Licenses must be renewed each year.
When looking for a bail bond agent, you should check that they are licensed to operate in the state of Connecticut.
Bail bond premiums are mandated
The premiums bondsmen in Connecticut charge are set at 10% up to a maximum of $5,000 and 7% thereafter. So if a bail amount was set at $5,100 the fee would be $507. These fees are mandated. Bail bondsmen in Connecticut cannot charge either more or less than the fee mandated. There is no price shopping for a bondsman in Connecticut. When choosing a bail bondsman in Connecticut you cannot differentiate on price. If a bondsman offers a bail premium for more or less than the mandated price, they are breaking the law.
There must be a co-signer (even with a bondsman)
Bail Agents in Connecticut require at least one co-signer to be on the original agreement. If the defendant fails to appear, pay the bond or the bond premium by specific dates agreed upon with the bondsman, the co-signer must step in and pay regardless of the amount left due on the bond. If the defendant fails to appear on a previously set court date, the co-signer is responsible to locate him or her or pay the bond. Once a bond has been declared forfeited, the defendant and co-signer have a limited time to correct the issue by turning him or herself in or to make full payment of the bond.
What You Need to Know About CT Bail Bond Laws
Who sets bail in Connecticut?
In Connecticut, bail is set by the police at the time of arrest, if the defendant is not released there, they are usually interviewed by a Bail Commissioner who resets the bond where it will either stay as is or be lowered or increased. If the defendant is still unable to post the bond, they will be brought before a judge on the first court date after the arrest for an arraignment. A judge will then reset the bond after hearing from the Bail Commissioner, Prosecutor and Public Defender.
How is bail determined?
Bail Staff uses “weighted release criteria” to determine how much bail is required. Weighted release criteria are mandated by Connecticut state statutes. Weighted release criteria include:
- The nature and circumstances of the offense
- The defendant’s record of previous convictions
- The defendant’s past record of appearance in court after being admitted to bail
- The defendant’s family ties
- The defendant’s employment record
- The defendant’s financial resources
- The defendant’s character and mental condition
- The defendant’s community ties
When do you get your bail money back if it posted in cash?
Bail is returned when a diversionary program is granted to the defendant. Examples of diversionary programs are drug or alcohol treatment programs. Bail is returned when the defendant is acquitted or if the complaint filed against the defendant is dismissed. Bail is returned when a sentence is handed down by the court. This can often take many months and in some cases years. It can often be less expensive to use the services of a Bail Agent than losing potential earnings on any investment you may have.
Recent change to Connecticut’s bail laws
In June 2017, Governor Dannel Malloy Signed House Bill 7044. The law prevents poorer defendants from staying in jail because they can’t afford to bail themselves out. The purpose of the law is to address the unintended consequences of a poorer person being lockup up for even a few days. Those consequences include loss of pay, employment, and housing. The law affects defendants who are accused of misdemeanors. According to Vice President of the Bail Association of Connecticut, Daniel Toner of 3-D Bail Bonds, Inc. “the legislation is a good compromise that prevents Connecticut’s indigent citizens charged with a non violent misdemeanor offenses from being locked up simply because they don’t have the resources to post a bail bond while still holding all other arrestees accountable for court appearances”.
The new law, which took effect in July, prevents courts from conveying money bail to misdemeanor defendants. Exceptions include cases involving family violence or in which an individual has been determined to be a flight risk, is likely to obstruct justice or harm themselves or someone else.