Bail Reform is Right Around the Corner for New Jersey
Big changes are coming to the way bail is set in New Jersey in 2017. Starting in January, judges are allowed to deny bail to high-risk offenders yet can release low-risk offenders from jail using a non-monetary system.
According to news reports, the reform came about because of the overflow in New Jersey jails. According to the state’s chief justice, 12 percent of the jail population are defendants who are charged with minor crimes, yet can’t afford to post bail. In 2014, New Jersey voters approved a measure that would change the bail system.
What is bail? You many know a little about it. You pay an amount of money to release someone out of jail. You can pay bail several ways – one of the most common methods is getting a bail bond. Bail is determined on several factors, mostly the severity of the crime, the risk the defendant poses on the community, and whether he/she is a flight risk.
So what does the reform mean to the current system? Let’s walk you through the process:
You are arrested and put in jail. At your bail hearing, the court decides to set bail at $5,000. That’s a pretty steep price, one you and your family can’t afford right now. Even getting a bail bond seems impossible. So instead of going further in debt, you are now stuck in jail until you go to trial.
This is how the bail system works in many states across the nation. Now let’s fast forward to 2017:
You are arrested on a minor charge. You go to your pre-trail hearing. The judge will evaluate how risky you are using factors such as:
- The severity of the crime
- Your criminal history
- If you pose a threat to the community
- And whether you are financially able to post bail
Using these factors, the judge can then decide to either set a bail amount or release you. However, if you are released, there is the possibility that you will have to complete bail using an alternative system. For instance, you may have to stay in the custody of a court-designated supervisor or participate in a pre-trial program.
The hope for the bail reform is that it will not only lower court costs but will also let those who who commit a minor crime but can’t afford bail doesn’t have to stay behind bars. It also helps that you have a criminal defense attorney by your side to help you get a chance to avoid a pricy bail.
IF you were arrested and need assistance, we can help. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone today for a free consultation.