1. What should I do if I learn that I have been accused of a crime?
A: It is important that you talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible, before you talk to anyone else, especially the police. Nothing should be done by you until you have spoken to an experienced criminal defense attorney. The right advice depends on the facts and circumstances of each case. Prompt and timely legal advice is always the best defense against criminal charges.
2. How do I know what I’m being accused of? Will the police officer tell me what my charges are?
A: If the allegation is a misdemeanor, the police will usually tell you what the charges are, but will tell you very little about the allegations. They want you to do the talking first. If the charges are more serious felonies, such as sexual assault, or allegations involving a minor child, or serious injury to another person, the police usually will not tell you the possible charges because that is often determined after they complete their investigation. An attorney can often get more information on your behalf than you will be able to obtain on your own.
3. Can I really be arrested just because someone makes a complaint to the police?
A: Yes. Probable cause to arrest is often based solely on a signed (or even verbal) statement made to police by a single individual. Even a “he-said, she-said” situation can lead to your arrest.
4. Can an arrest warrant be issued based in part on a statement that was obtained from me in violation of my Miranda rights?
A: The short answer to this is yes. But it may be possible to have the statement suppressed in court after your arrest.
5. What is an arrest warrant, and how long does it take the police to get an arrest warrant?
A: An arrest warrant is a court order to take you into custody and arrest you on specified criminal charges. An arrest warrant will not be issued until both the State’s Attorney and the court have decided that the application for the warrant made by the police shows that there is probable cause for your arrest. Depending upon the seriousness or complexity of the allegations, the police may investigate you for weeks or even months before submitting an application to the court for an arrest warrant. Once the police have submitted an arrest warrant application to the State’s Attorney, the court may approve and issue the actual arrest warrant within a few weeks or even a few days, depending on circumstances.
6. Can I stop a warrant from being issued?
A. You can prevent an arrest warrant from being issued only if the police determine that there is no probable cause for them to submit an arrest warrant application to the court. Once an arrest warrant application has been sent to the court by the police, it is usually not possible to challenge the probable cause for your arrest until after you have been arrested. Sometimes it is possible for an experienced criminal defense attorney to persuade the police that there is no probable cause for them to submit an application for an arrest warrant. A thorough investigation under the direction of your attorney is usually necessary for this.
7. What does “probable cause” mean?
A: “Probable cause” to arrest someone exists when the facts and circumstances within the police officer’s knowledge would lead the officer to reasonably believe that someone has committed a crime. “Probable cause” is more than a hunch or mere suspicion but does not require proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the person has committed a crime.
8. Will the police tell me when the arrest warrant is signed and give me a chance to turn myself in?
A: Not necessarily, even if they say they will. Once an arrest warrant is signed, the police have a right to immediately go to your home or place of business to arrest you. They can even break into your house if they have evidence to believe that you are hiding there. You will more likely be able to turn yourself in to police at a convenient date and time for you if your attorney has been in contact with the police before the warrant is signed.
9. How do I find out if a warrant has been issued for my arrest?
A: You can go online to: www.jud.ct.gov for warrants in CT, but you will only find warrants that have been issued for a charge of violation of probation or for a failure to appear in court. Most outstanding arrest warrants are not listed online on the public judicial website. For information about a pending warrant, it is best to have an attorney contact the police rather than call them yourself. The bond amount is never provided online, but an attorney can usually obtain that information for you. You should also know that police have access online to all warrants, so even if you are stopped for a minor motor vehicle violation, you will be taken into custody.
10. What is a PRAWN warrant?
A: The acronym PRAWN stands for Paperless Re-Arrest Warrant Network. PRAWN is an online system that makes police aware of the existence of a warrant for failure to appear in court or for violation of probation immediately after the warrant is issued. Police can come to your home or place of work to arrest you and can even arrest you during a motor vehicle stop for a ticket.
11. How is the amount of a bail bond determined?
A: If there is a warrantless arrest because you were arrested during or immediately following an incident, the arresting police department will determine the amount of your bail. If the court has issued a warrant for your arrest, the judge who signed the warrant will often set your bail amount. If not, it will be set at the police department. The amount of your bond will be determined by a number of factors such as the seriousness of the charges, whether you have a prior failure to appear record, whether the charges suggest that you are a threat to the safety of a specific person, and whether you live or work in Connecticut.
12. Will I need a bail bondsman?
A: You do not always need a bail bondsman, but an attorney can put you in touch with a bail bondsman so that you can be sure that he/she is ready to post your bail bond promptly if it is necessary.
13. What much does a bail bondsman charge to post a bail bond?
A: Depending on the amount of your bail, the fees charged by a bail bondsman fee will be 7% of the amount of the bond, or 10% if the bond amount is $5,000.00 or less. These fees are uniform and regulated by state laws.
14. I don’t live in Connecticut. What can be done about an arrest warrant in Connecticut?
A: Unfortunately, the only way you can resolve the problem of a warrant in Connecticut is to come to Connecticut and turn yourself in. However, before you do that, you should definitely speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney because there may be ways to deal with the problem ahead of time, to reduce your cost and expenses.
15. I live in Connecticut. What should I do before I turn myself in on a warrant?
A: Same advice. Talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney. You want to be sure that you are ready for any surprises, for example, if a bail bond is necessary, your attorney can make the process less stressful and inconvenient. Most importantly, an attorney may be able to help you reduce the cost and expense associated with the arrest and arraignment process and help you avoid further questioning by the police during the turn-in booking procedure.
Reminder: Every person, every case, and every situation is unique. For that reason, you will need specific advice just for you. To speak immediately to an experienced criminal defense attorney to learn more about Connecticut’s arrest warrant and pre-arrest information please call our firm.
We represent clients throughout Hartford County (east of the Connecticut River) and Tolland County, including the communities of South Windsor, Windsor, East Windsor, Hartford, Bloomfield, Enfield, Windsor Locks, East Hartford, Manchester, Glastonbury, Marlborough, Somers, Stafford, Stafford Springs, Union, Ellington, Tolland, Willington, Vernon, Bolton, Coventry, Mansfield, Storrs, Andover, Hebron, Columbia and Middletown.