A committee of State Superior Court judges has unanimously approved a new rule that allows low-income defendants to post 10% of their bond as cash to a court or police department. This applies only to bonds where the amount is $20,000 or less.
Many detractors of the decision feel that this decision circumvents the General Assembly’s will, and will mostly cost the state’s bond industry close to 50% of their business.
Alex Tsarkov, Sentencing Commission Executive Director, stated that it was a huge change and would need a long time in the legislature. Many people who need the bond, contact a bail bondsman, and the bond industry benefits. The difference with the 10% cash bond decision is that they will get it back once the case is completed.
This change to bail bonds regulations took effect from January 2020 onward. This decision will help multiple individuals who have been stuck in jail just because they could not afford a bail bondsman while their case was pending.
Tsarkov felt that the amount of money a person had or did not have should have no role in deciding whether he/she can be detained or not.
What Bail Bondsmen Should Expect Next
According to the Bail Association of Connecticut (BAC), the bond industry in the state can lose close to 50% of its business because of this decision.
They challenged the logic behind the change and claimed that it will cause defendants to abscond instead of appearing in court and that any money that gets collected will end up in state coffers.
Andrew Marocchini, President of the BAD, said that while the entire reason for this change was to help the indigent, he felt the 10% option did nothing to help them. He felt that while 50% of the bail bonds industry could get wiped out by this decision, it would be easier to handle it if it actually helped people.
Marocchini feels that very few defendants will be able to give the 10%. For a bond of $10,000, a bondsman would usually get $850 from the client that he/she can pay in installments. Once the case is over, the bondsman could keep the money as a fee for his services.
If his client misses court, the bondsman would be able to put the remaining money and look for him/her to make sure any further court appearances are not missed. In some cases, relatives could put up collaterals, thereby making it even more difficult for the defendant to flee.
Marocchini felt that with the new rule, the defendant had no incentive to show up in court for the case after the 10% was given.
Connecticut’s 10% Bail Rule Expanded
As per a law passed in 2017, defendants can already use the 10% cash option if their bond was less than $20,000, provided a judge permitted it. However, very few defendants used this option. The Sentencing Commission requested a change in the state law in 2017 to let all defendants with bonds of $20,000 or less use the 10% option. However, the legislature agreed to it only after getting the approval of the judge.
This change was recommended by the Rules Committee of the Superior Court. This judicial body was made completely of judges, letting the defendants automatically have the 10% cash option if they want to.
If the defendant chose this option, the court would hold the money and return it to the defendant at the end of the case. In case the defendant didn’t show up, then the money would be forfeited, and the individual would be responsible for the other 90% of the bond as well.
After calculating bail rates, depending on the circumstances of the individual, many individuals and families found that the 10% cash option was a better fit for their finances. Others, particularly those with higher bonds set, found that it was still more beneficial to consult with a local bondsman.
Consult With A Hartford Bail Bonds Agent
In some cases, the new regulations for bail bonds will be a great help, particularly for lower-income families and the destitute. However, bail amounts can vary greatly depending on the crime, prior offenses, and your risk of skipping court. If you are uncertain about your options for bail, our compassionate bondsman and bonds team are here to help you learn more about bail financing and payment options that may be right for you. Call today for more information.