Wondering if you can bond out on a felony charge? For someone unfamiliar with the US criminal justice system, the bail process, particularly for felony charges in Connecticut, can be difficult to comprehend. Most people find themselves confused by the gray area surrounding felony crime charges and the possibility of securing a bond. In this article, we break down everything you need to know when going through the bailing process in Connecticut. We break down your options to help you make informed decisions should you ever find yourself in a situation where bail is required.
Is it possible to Bond Out On A Felony Charge in Connecticut?
Yes. In Connecticut, it is generally permissible for individuals facing felony charges to be released from custody through the posting of bail. However, the bail amount set for felony charges is often significantly higher, reflecting the serious nature of these offenses.
In Connecticut, bail amounts are not arbitrary; rather, they are determined by a presiding judge, the police, or the Pretrial Service Staff. In felony cases, the bail amount is set by the judge, who decides whether or not to grant bail based on several factors. These factors may include the individual’s criminal history, the nature of the charges, the risk flight of the individual, the community ties of the defendant, and the severity of the charges.
There are, however, exceptional circumstances under Connecticut law where the court may deny bail or impose conditions that make obtaining a release more challenging. Some of these circumstances can include whether an individual is considered a potential threat to the community and the nature of the crime.
Violent crimes where the defendant is facing the potential death penalty or life imprisonment are exempt from bail, as is the case if the defendant has been convicted of two or more felonies prior.
Connecticut had a change of the bail bond regulations that took effect in January 2020. This change allows defendants from low-income families who incur a bail amount of $20,000 or less to post 10% of their bail in cash for a bail release. However, if a defendant fails to fulfill the bail conditions, including attending court proceedings, The defendant has to pay the full bail amount issued by the judge.
Understanding Bail and Bonds
Bail is the amount an individual awaiting trial pays to secure a temporary release. It acts as an assurance that the defendant will avail themselves of all court proceedings until the conclusion of the trial.
The bail money is given back to the defendant once the trial is concluded. If the defendant fails to show up for any court appearances while out on bail without a valid reason or permission from the court, the bail money is forfeited.
Connecticut offers different options for felony bail bonds.
- Cash bail: It involves the defendant paying the full amount in cash directly to the court.
- 10% Cash Bail Options: For any bail set for $20,000 or less, a defendant has the option of paying 10% of the bail amount set to secure their release.
- Bond or surety bond: It involves the defendant hiring a bail bondsman who pays the bail in exchange for a non-refundable fee.
A bond, on the other hand, is a financial agreement that guarantees the payment of bail to the court if the defendant fails to appear in court proceedings as required.
The defendant turns to a third party known as a bail bondsmanor a bonding company that provides full bail to the court if the defendant fails to show up for the court proceedings. A defendant typically uses a bail agent when they cannot pay the full bail amount set.
A bail agent offers these services in exchange for a non-refundable fee, which is usually 10% of the bail amount. The bail bond company assumes responsibility for ensuring the defendant appears in court for all proceedings.
The role of bail in the criminal justice System
Bail plays a vital role in the criminal justice system for several compelling reasons.
By posting bail, individuals facing felony charges have the opportunity to continue with their lives and fully prepare for their trial while seeking legal counsel.
Through bail, defendants can uphold the “innocent until proven guilty rule and prevent incarceration, especially if they are innocent.
Individuals who have posted bail, either cash or a bond, through a bail agent have the incentive to show up for all court proceedings to avoid losing the bail amount or forfeiting their financial agreement with a bail agent.
Understanding Felony Charges
A felony is a classification given to a serious criminal offense that carries potential punishments exceeding one year. Felonies encompass a wide range of crimes, which include murder, manslaughter, homicide, kidnapping, rape, sexual assault, arson, certain types of theft, and certain instances of driving under the influence (DUI).
The degree of seriousness of the offense and the accompanying penalties make the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony charge. Charges for misdemeanors are typically viewed as less serious. Additionally, they have reduced bail conditions and bail amounts for release from incarceration and can be penalized by imprisonment, which is normally less than a year.
The Bond Process for Felony Charges in Connecticut
The bond process for felony charges in Connecticut involves several steps. Here is a step-by-step breakdown of the process.
- Bail hearing: After an arrest on a felony charge, the defendant is brought before a judge for a bail hearing. During this hearing, the judge carefully reviews the case details, including the nature of the charges, the defendant’s criminal history, and any other concerns regarding the defendant’s risk of flight.
- Bail amount determination: A judge or a police department in Connecticut takes several factors into account when determining the bail amount. These factors can include the seriousness of the charges, the potential penalty upon conviction, the defendant’s ties to the community, employment status, financial resources, and any prior failures to appear on court dates.
- Bail conditions: The judge may impose certain conditions for the defendant’s release. These conditions include regular check-ins with a designated authority, restrictions on travel or contact with specific individuals, surrendering passports and firearms, or participation in drug or alcohol monitoring programs.
- Post-bail: In Connecticut, as of January 1st, 2020, the defendant gets the option to post 10% of the bail amount as long as the bail amount is $20,000 or less.Also, a defendant can pay the full bail amount in cash or hire the services of a bail agent to post bail on their behalf.
- Release or detention: Once bail is posted, the defendant is released from custody after the administrative procedures are completed.
- Bail revocation: If the defendant violates the conditions of the release or fails to appear in court as required, the court can revoke the bail bonds.
Tips for Navigating the Felony Bail Process in Connecticut
If you find yourself in a situation where you need to pay bail for a felony charge in Connecticut, either for yourself or for a family member, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
- Get a good understanding of the charges against you or a family member and the potential consequences.
- For felony charges, it is important to hire a good defense attorney before being arraigned in court for the bail hearing.
- Have all the documentation that may be required like identification, proof of residence, and employment records for you to post bail, before the bail hearing.
- Choose a qualified bail agent, if you decide to post a bail bond.
It is essential to understand the felony bail bond procedure if you find yourself charged with a felony in Connecticut. How does Connecticut’s felony bail system operate and can you bond out of jail on a felony charge there?
The short answer is that you can post bail in Connecticut to be released from jail on a felony charge. The judge sets the bond amount based on the allegations you are facing, your criminal history, and the likelihood that you would run. Occasionally, though, the court may reject bail or place strict conditions on your release.
Choosing the right bail agent is a huge factor in helping you successfully navigate the bail process, especially for felonies, make informed choices, and secure your release from custody.
What factors are usually used to set the amount of bail?
The seriousness of the crime, the nature of the charges, the criminal history of the individual, and the probability of the defendant fleeing after a bail release.
What is a bond in a criminal procedure?
A bond is a contractual arrangement that guarantees the payment of bail in the instance that the defendant fails to appear in court. A third party, such as a bail bondsman, is responsible for paying the full bail amount to the court. This bail alternative is used when a defendant cannot afford the full bail amount.
What factors do courts consider before granting bail?
Courts consider a multitude of factors when contemplating the grant of bail. These factors include:
- The gravity of the offense
- A criminal history of the defendant
- Risk of flight.
- Financial resources.
- Defendant’s ties to the community
How do you pay a bond?
To pay a bond, you must first seek the services of a bail bondsman who can provide you with the money you need to secure the defendant’s release. You will be required to pay a non-refundable fee to the bail bondsman. The defendant will then be released after the bail bondsman posts the bond.