State legislatures consider and enact laws that address all aspects of pretrial policy, including citations, release eligibility, conditions of release, commercial bail bonding, victims’ rights and diversion. These legislative policies have an important role in providing fair, efficient and safe practices carried out by law enforcement and the courts.
Below is a synopsis of this state’s pretrial release laws as of March 2013 and any relevant legislative reports or audits. Recent enactments modifying these provisions can be found in NCSL’s pretrial enactments database.
Citation in Lieu of Arrest
Issuing a citation is not presumptive. However a citation can be issued for misdemeanors and offenses punishable by no more than one year imprisonment or a fine of $1000. Citations can be issued after arrest by the arresting officer. (§ 54-1h)
Pretrial Release Eligibility
State constitution provides a presumption of pretrial release. Pretrial release can be denied for capital offenses. (Const. art. 1 § 8)
Guidance for Setting Release Conditions
Law requires the least restrictive conditions be imposed on defendants not release by law enforcement or who are unable to meet financial conditions enumerated in § 54-63c(a). Courts are instructed to use a risk assessment for defendants not release on personal recognizance, an unsecured appearance bond or for those unable to meet financial conditions. (§ 54-63d(a); § 54-63c; § 54-63b)
Pretrial Release Conditions
Law allows release on personal recognizance or an unsecured appearance bond. Common conditions of release include: commercial surety, cash deposit, property bond, supervision and additional requirements. Electronic monitoring is authorized for any defendant eligible for pretrial release. (§ 64-63c; § 54-66; § 54-64a)
When a defendant is unable to meet the pretrial release conditions, court staff must report such information to the court. (§54-63d)
Bail Bond Agent Licensure
The commissioner of Energy Services and Public Protection regulates professional bondsmen. To be a licensed professional bondsman, applicants must pass a criminal background check. Crimes for which a license can be denied or revoked include all felonies. The insurance commissioner regulates surety bail bond agents. To be a licensed surety bail bond agent, applicants must meet age and residency requirements, and pass an exam and a criminal background check. Crimes for which a license can be denied or revoked include all felonies and certain misdemeanors. Licensure for either requires they not be employed as a law enforcement agent or any other profession with police powers. (§ 29-145; § 38a-660)
Bail Bond Agent Business Practices
The premium rate a bail agent can charge for a bond below $500 is $50; 10 percent on bonds between $500 and $5,000; and 7 percent on bonds above $5,000. They are prohibited from soliciting business in correctional institutions, community correctional centers, detention facilities, or in any court. Bail agents cannot offer legal advice or recommend an attorney. Print advertising in enumerated facilities is limited to telephone directory listings and postings of contact information in designated locations, with prohibitions for clarity enumerated in § 29-151. (§ 29-151; § 29-152b)
Bail Forfeiture Procedure
After notification of their client’s failure to appear, a bail agent has six months to produce the defendant or provide an adequate reason why the defendant did not appear. Statute addresses standards for remission procedure. Unpaid forfeitures can result in suspension of the agent’s authority to execute new bonds. (§ 54-65a; § 54-74; § 29-147)
Recovery agents are overseen by the same regulatory authority as bail agents and are subject to more licensing requirements. They are also required to wear identifying clothing. (§ 29-152f; § 29-152l)
Victims’ Rights and Protections
Electronic monitoring that includes technology to warn the victim if the defendant is within a specified distance can be ordered for a violation of a restraining or protection order when the defendant is determined to be high-risk. Electronic monitoring can also be ordered for class D felonies or misdemeanors except: 3rd and 4th degree sex assault; 1st degree stalking; 2nd degree assault involving a firearm or motor vehicle; and where the victim is elderly, blind, disabled, pregnant or has an intellectual disability. (§ 46b-38c(f) & CT § 18-100f(d))
Diversion programs authorized include: substance abuse, mental health, veterans/active military and worthless checks programs. Diversion is also authorized for crimes enumerated in §54-56e. (§ 53a-39c; § 54-56e; § 54-56i; § 54-56l; § 46b-38c)
Full text of statutes can be retrieved using NCSL’s State Legislatures Internet Links database.
Full text of statutes can be retrieved using NCSL’s State Legislatures Internet Links database or learn more about NCSL’s Criminal Justice Program.