Understanding How Bail in Connecticut Works for Murder Suspects
Murder Bail Bonds
The bail process is meant to help criminal suspects get out of jail and work on their case. However, it can be quite confusing. There are all sorts of misconceptions about how bail works and who can get bail in Connecticut. Many people assume that those charged with murder or other serious crimes cannot bail themselves out of jail. While it is true that some murder suspects remain in jail, bail might be possible for others. Here is what you need to know about posting bail after being charged with murder.
Are Murder Suspects Allowed to Post Bail in Connecticut?
Being able to post bail is a very helpful part of the criminal justice system. After a person is first arrested on suspicion of a crime, it can still be months or even years until their case is heard in court. Instead of sitting around in jail, the accused has the opportunity to post bail. This lets them pay a sum and then leave jail until their court date. Being able to post bail will give a person time to work on their case and handle personal responsibilities.
The laws about bail in Connecticut do not exclude murder suspects. When a person is in jail on suspicion of murder, they still have all their legal rights. This means that they will still be granted a bail hearing. The typical timeline for bail is usually no more than 48 hours between arrest and your bail hearing. The judge will hear the basics of the case, learn a little about the defendant, and then make a decision on whether the defendant can post bail and how much the defendant would pay for bail.
Though anyone accused of murder does get a bail hearing, their likelihood of actually getting bail is a bit lower. In Connecticut, bail is not granted if the court believes the defendant is likely to harm others or flee the region. Since murder is a violent crime, the court may be concerned about the defendant hurting other people or trying to flee a life sentence in jail. Ultimately, bail is possible even in murder cases, but it not guaranteed. If you do manage to get bail, you will probably end up paying a somewhat higher sum.
How Much Is Bail for a Murder Suspect?
There is no set amount for bail because it can vary so much based on the severity of the crime, your potential for fleeing the country, and your income levels. Some courts may use a mathematical formula to determine your bail, while others might just let the judge set whatever amount they desire. In Connecticut, the average bail for murder is usually somewhere around $500,000. Depending on your case, bail could be more than $1,000,000, or it could be as little as $25,000.
The amount of bail the judge sets is not actually the amount of bail a person pays. Instead of paying the total bail to get out of jail, you just pay the bail bond. This is a small portion of the bail, and then you would only pay the rest of the bail if you did not appear in court. For cases with more than $5,000 in bail, which will be almost all murder and manslaughter cases, Connecticut will set your bail bond at 7 percent of the total bail rate. So for example, if the court set your bail at $500,000, you would need to pay $35,000 as your bail bond.
If you choose to work with a bail bond agent, you do not have to pay the entire bail bond to leave jail though. Instead, the agent will only require you to pay a bail bond premium. Connecticut requires bail bond agents to charge at least 35 percent of the bail bond. In the case of a $500,000 bail, this would ultimately mean you would need to come up with $12,250. Once you pay this down payment, the bail bond will post the rest of your bond, and you can get released from jail.
Is There a Difference Between Bail for Murder and Manslaughter?
Not all cases that involve killing will result in the same criminal charges, and this can affect your bail. There are actually multiple types of murder in Conencticut. There is the standard murder charge, that happens when someone purposefully causes the death of another. There is also a murder charge with special circumstances which happens when someone murders multiple people, murders a government official, murders while committing another crime, or does other problematic activities. The other type of murder is felony murder which happens when someone commits a murder as part of a felony.
In addition to murder charges, there are also manslaughter charges, which happen when someone unintentionally causes death. Manslaughter is categorized as first degree when a person is intentionally trying to injure the other. If the person was just careless but not actively malicious, then they may be charged with second degree manslaughter.
Generally, bail requirements are the most strict for cases of murder with special circumstances. Felony murder bail is also very strict, so bail may not be granted or might be higher. In cases of standard murder, you are more likely to get bail, but the price will still be fairly high. When the charges are manslaughter, bail is more likely to be granted and the bail bonds for manslaughter tend to be lower. Manslaughter bail bonds are generally lower in cases of second degree manslaughter instead of first.
What Factors Affect Bail Decisions?
Ultimately, there is a lot of leeway in determining murder bail bonds. Whether you get bail and how much your bail costs is left up to the judge. There are several things the judge will take into account when making their bail ruling. Judges will take into account the severity of the crime, with more severe crimes resulting in a higher bail. If the nature of the crime indicates you might be a risk to others, bail may be denied. The court will also consider the number of charges against a defendant. When a person has pending charges in other jurisdictions, the court may temporarily deny bail. To determine the amount, they will usually look at the defendant’s level of income as well.
Judges also pay a lot of attention to the defendant’s potential flight risk. If they believe the defendant is likely to flee, bail will be much higher. There are all sorts of things that can make a defendant seem higher-risk, including:
- Not having friends and family in the area
- Having citizenship in another country
- Having unusually high or low income
- Facing an unusually long or severe sentence
- Having a record of previous criminal convictions
- Owning boats, planes, and other means of transportation
How Do You Get a Lower Bail?
The idea of paying thousands of dollars in bail can be very intimidating. Even with help from a bail bonds company, it can be difficult to raise large amounts of money quickly. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to get a lower bail. First of all, you should know that you are allowed to have a lawyer with you for your bail hearing. Getting a legal expert on your side right away can be very beneficial.
To get a lower bail, you need to show the judge that you are not dangerous and that you are not a flight risk. During your hearing, you can benefit from showing the judge that you have strong ties with the local community that will keep you from leaving. Though the bail hearing is not the place to plead your innocence, it is still important to emphasize you are an upright citizen who has no interest in harming anyone else. The court also takes a person’s income into account, so try to provide a realistic picture of your finances. You should not try to hide income or lie about your finances, but it is a good idea to emphasize all your expenses and explain why a higher bail may not be economically feasible for you.
Can You Find a Bail Bonds Company That Accepts Murder Suspects?
Keep in mind that just having the judge grant bail might not be enough to get a person out of jail. Unless you are so wealthy that you have vast sums of liquid cash, you will need to work with a bail bond agent. This is a person that can loan you the cash and help you with the paperwork. Since bail bonds for murder in Connecticut are so high, it can be tricky to find a company that will work with you. You may need to provide extra collateral or do additional research to locate a bail bondsman who can help you.
If you or someone you know has been charged with murder or manslaughter, Liza Davis Bail Bonds is here to help. Our team of reliable, trustworthy agents can help you navigate all the complexities of posting bail in murder cases. With affordable payment plans and no interest charges, we make it easy to get out of jail. Call us now to learn more.