Arraignment in Connecticut

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In Connecticut, the authorities must present someone they have arrested, and who is still in custody, for arraignment by the first court day following arrest. If the defendant is incapacitated (for example, hospitalized), arraignment must occur by the next court day following medical release or return to police custody. Defendants who aren’t in custody must appear at a later time, of which they will receive notice.

(For more information on arraignment and initial court appearances in general, see Arraignment: Getting to Court. Also see How should I plead at arraignment?)

Release from Custody

Depending on the circumstances, before appearing in court, an arrestee may be taken before a clerk or to a jail or police station. The clerk or law enforcement officer must advise the defendant of certain rights, including:

  • the right to silence (and the fact that any statements may be used against him or her)
  • the right to an attorney, and
  • the right to choose not to speak to the authorities, and to a lawyer before and during any interview.

The defendant is often entitled to contact a lawyer, and to an interview about conditions of release (with an attorney present, if the defendant so chooses). The defendant is also entitled to release if he or she can satisfy the conditions of release set either in the arrest warrant or by the law enforcement official. (This usually means posting bail.)

Bail can be set by a judge, a bail commissioner, or a police officer. If a defendant can’t make the bail set by the police, the bail commissioner will review the bail amount. (Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 54-63c, 54-63d, 54-64a, 54-64b; Conn. Crim. P. R. 38-2.)

Probable Cause

If the defendant was arrested without a warrant and is still in custody, the court must within 48 hours of arrest determine whether there is probable cause to believe he or she committed the alleged crime. The court can make this determination by simply reviewing signed affidavits rather than taking testimony. The court almost always finds probable cause, but if it doesn’t, the defendant is entitled to release. The defendant is allowed to waive the probable cause determination. (Conn. Crim. P. R. 37-12.)

Consult a Lawyer

If you’ve been arrested, whether or not you’ve been to court, seek legal assistance. Only a lawyer with experience in your area can fully explain the nuances and complexities of the rules, including how they apply to your situation. For example, that lawyer can explain whether statements made in pre-trial release interviews are admissible in court and the different rules that apply to certain kinds of family violence crimes, stalking offenses, and protective or restraining order violations.

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