If the police arrest one of your family members or friends, it is only natural to want to help them in any way you can. For example, if your child or other family member had a run-in with the law, you might consider bailing them out so they don’t need to await their trial in jail.
However, understanding your responsibilities is critical before co-signing on someone’s bail bond. If the person you bail out ends up fleeing or fails to comply with the court’s conditions for release, you might lose the assets you used to pay the bail.
In this guide, our Connecticut Bail Bonds Group team discusses the bail bonds process and what happens when the person you bail out is re-arrested. If you have a loved one in jail and want to mitigate your risk of financial loss, contact us to schedule a consultation.
The Bail Bonds Process
Once the police arrest a person, there is a waiting period before the trial, which can last a few weeks to a few months. However, the court might allow a defendant to get out of jail during the waiting period, provided they post bail. Under a bail bond agreement, a defendant pays a sum of money as surety that they will show up for their trial.
However, in some cases, defendants cannot afford to pay the bail amount that the court sets. In these cases, a third party over 18 can post bail for them. However, the court will keep the bail bond assets if the defendant doesn’t appear for the trial. If you are the one who posted bail for someone else, you are the one who runs the risk of losing your assets if the person decides to run from jail.
How Does Bail Work?
How does bail work? After an arrest, the defendant must attend a bail hearing. During this proceeding, a judge decides whether the defendant is eligible for bail and what the bail amount is. The court is unlikely to grant bail if your loved one committed a capital offense, violent crime, repeat felony, or crime with a potential punishment of life in prison.
If the court believes your family member is a flight risk or likely to tamper with evidence or obstruct justice, it will also not grant bail. Some misdemeanors have preset bail amounts, in which case the defendant doesn’t need to attend a bail hearing.
After the court grants bail and the defendant posts the bail amount, they are free to leave and must return for the trial.
Common Bail Restrictions
In most cases, the court imposes several restrictions to ensure the community’s safety and the defendant’s presence at the trial. The restrictions the court will put in place depending on the severity of your loved one’s crime, criminal history, and bail history.
Some of the common conditions include that the defendant may not:
- Leave the state
- Make contact with the victim or witnesses
- Leave their employment
- Use alcohol or drugs
- Possess or use any weapons
The court can also order that the defendant regularly check in with the police or follow a curfew. If the defendant is unemployed, the judge may also order that the defendant not seek active employment or acceptance into a school.
Another condition for release is that the defendant may not commit any additional crimes.
Failure to Comply with the Court’s Restrictions
If a defendant fails to comply with any of these conditions for release, the court may impose a special penalty. For example, suppose one of the restrictions was that your loved one might not leave the state, and if they did, they might face a fine. If your family member leaves the state and doesn’t show up for their trial, the court will likely impose a fine and sentence them to additional jail time.
If the defendant commits a crime while out on bail, they will face special penalties under their bail bond conditions, along with an additional criminal charge.
Another consequence of non-compliance with conditions for release is the forfeiture of the rights to money or property that someone used to pay bail. If you posted bail for a family member, the court could freeze your assets, or you may lose ownership of your property, even if your family member is the one who failed to appear in court.
Your Responsibilities as Cosigner
If you want to become your loved one’s cosigner, you can do so by signing a promissory note. Once you sign this document, the bond is your responsibility, and your loved one will get out of jail. You will also accept the responsibility to ensure that your family member returns to court for trial and that they meet all release conditions.
As the cosigner, you have the right to request specific stipulations, for example, that the defendant undergoes counseling.
Can You Revoke Bail Bond?
In some cases, you might be eligible to revoke the bond, in which case your family member will return to jail. Revocation is generally possible if you believe that your loved one’s conduct threatens your bail. For example, you can revoke the bond if:
- You discover that your loved one plans on fleeing
- Your family member tells you that they refuse to go to their hearing
- You cannot find your loved one
- You have reason to believe that your loved one is using alcohol or drugs
- You have reason to believe that your loved one has committed a felony or misdemeanor
Once you revoke the bail bond, the court will recommit your loved one. Your responsibility for the bond amount will only end after the police pick up the defendant and return them to jail.
Do You Need Bail Bonds in Connecticut?
If you don’t have the financial means to post bail for someone else, you should consider the services of a bail bondsman. At Connecticut Bail Bonds Group, we can assist you with your family member’s bail and help release them from jail.