How to Post Bail in Connecticut: 5 Things to Know
In Connecticut, as in many other states, there are two different ways for a person who has been arrested to be released from jail without paying bail. One is a signed promise to appear in court whenever required, though no bail is set or required. It is called release on recognizance, or ROR. However, for defendants without significant criminal records, participating in pre-trial diversion programs offers another opportunity to be released from jail and perhaps save the cost of bail. In some cases, a fairly low amount of bail is set that must be paid. But if the defendant completes the program – such as the Violence Education Program or the Drug Education Program, the charge is dismissed and the bail is returned. If you need to post bail to get out of jail in Connecticut, here are five things you should know.
1. Four Ways to Get Out of Jail
Promise to Appear – Commonly referred to as PTA, this is virtually identical to a release on recognizance. A defendant who does not show up for all court appearances after signing a PTA will be arrested for two charges – the original crime and failure to appear, which is a separate crime in Connecticut.
Cash bond – This is generally used only for the most common misdemeanors, when the cost is $500 or $1,000. The entire amount of bail must be paid with a cash bond, which can be posted by the defendant or an indemnitor acting on behalf of the defendant.
Surety bond – Once bail reaches $5,000 to $10,000, it is common for defendants to call on a bail bond company and choose a surety bond. The bond company guarantees the entire amount of the bail while the defendant or indemnitor pays the premium – often 10 percent of the bail. The bail bond agent will decide whether or not to require collateral to secure the bond.
Property bond – This type of bond is not seen often in Connecticut. It is sometimes used when bail is above $500,000 and a family home or piece of property may be put up to guarantee bail. Affidavits are required to confirm that the value is at least greater than the amount of bail and that the land is owned outright by the defendant or indemnitor.
2. How to Get Bail
The first step is to complete the booking process. At some point, you will be given the opportunity to make a phone call. If you know the amount of bail – there is a schedule for many lesser crimes – you’ll know if you have the money to pay the entire amount in cash. If not, the phone call can be to a relative or friend. If you call family member or friend, you may ask them to contact an experienced criminal attorney as well who can see if you qualify for one of several pre-trial diversion programs that allow defendants to eventually have their charge dismissed and to get any bail they are required to pay returned.
3. What Will Bail Cost?
Under Connecticut law, the minimum cost for a surety bond is $50. For a larger bond – such as a $10,000 bond – there is a 10 percent premium on the first 10 percent and a 7 percent premium on the rest. So under that scenario, the cost would be $500 for the first $5,000 of the bond and $350 for the second $5,000. If you or a co-signor has the money, you can post a cash bond for the entire amount of the bond, which does not include any premium payment since a bail bond agent is not involved.
4. How Long Will I Stay in Jail?
A number of issues come into play, including the seriousness of the crime and when you are arrested. If you are arrested late at night and require an arraignment so that bail can be set, you will have to wait until sometime the next morning to get out of jail. A Saturday arrest could lead to a wait until Monday morning. Also, if the crime you were arrested for does not have a preset jail figure, the arraignment must be held in Superior Court. In general, the booking and bonding process, assuming you have hired a bail bond agent, takes no more than several hours – and that assumes there is preset bail available for your offense.
5. What if I Miss a Court Appearance?
Missing a court appearance triggers a domino-effect of consequences. First, the judge will issue a bench warrant for two charges – one is for the original offense that brought you to jail and the second is for failure to appear, which is a separate misdemeanor offense. If you posted a cash bail, the court will keep the full amount. If you arranged for a surety bond, the court will seek the entire amount from the bail bond agent. The agent, meanwhile, will attempt to bring you back to court to avoid paying the entire bond amount. If a relative or friend was a co-signor in your case, they will be legally liable for the amount off your bond.
This article is for informational purposes only. If you need legal advice, consult an attorney.