Determining Bail Amount
How Bail is Set in New Jersey
When someone is arrested on a criminal charge, a judge or other official is typically contacted so that a bail amount may be set. This sum of money constitutes the security that must be posted in order for a criminal defendant to be released from jail. If the defendant is unable to post bail, a more formal hearing is conducted several days or weeks later where bail is reviewed and set by a Superior Court Judge. The lawyers at the Law Office of Jonathan Marshall have decades of experience successfully representing individuals on initial bail, insuring that the amount to be posted is reasonable and as low as possible. Our attorneys would be happy to answer your questions and provide you with information necessary for you to gain a better understanding of how bail is set in NJ. If you would like to learn more about how we can assist at an Initial Bail Hearing, at a Motion to Reduce Bail, or at proceedings to lift a Bail Restriction, a lawyer from our firm would be happy to speak to you. An attorney is available now at 1-877-450-8301 and we also hope you find the information that follows of assistance.
Factors in Setting Bail in NJ
Pursuant to Court Rule 3:26-2, bail may only be set by a Superior Court Judge for a charge of murder, kidnapping, aggravated manslaughter, aggravated sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, those subject to New Jersey Extradition, or persons arrested for violating a domestic restraining order. Bail may otherwise be set by a Municipal Court Judge, one sitting in the Superior Court, a municipal court administrator, or a deputy court administrator. In arriving at a bail amount, a Judge is to give due consideration to the bail range set in the New Jersey Bail Schedule, as well as any suggested or mandatory Bail Restrictions set by law. Where a particular bail amount shall ultimately be set will also be contingent on the following factors:
- The seriousness of the crime, the likelihood of conviction, the extent of punishment prescribed in the statute;
- The defendant's criminal record and previous record on bail, if any;
- The defendant's reputation and mental condition;
- Length of the defendant's residence in the community;
- The defendant's family ties and relationships;
- The defendant's employment status, record of employment, and financial condition;
- The identity of responsible members of the community who would vouch for defendant's reliability;
- Any other factors demonstrating the defendant's lifestyle, or ties to the community, or bearing on the risk of failure to appear, and the general policy against unnecessary sureties and detention.
Fourth Degree Crime, Disorderly Persons Offense & Petty Disorderly Persons Charges
It is a general rule in New Jersey that the maximum amount of New Jersey Bail on a Fourth Degree, Disorderly Persons Charge, or Petty Disorderly Persons Offense shall be $2,500. Under special circumstances, however, a judge may set a bail amount above $2,500 for one of these grades of offense where the defendant presents a serious threat to the physical safety to others, to destruction of evidence, or reasonably necessary to assure the appearance of the defendant as required. The court must place on the record the specific reasons for imposing bail in an amount exceeding $2,500.
Third Degree, Second Degree, & First Degree Crimes
Although the New Jersey Constitution recognizes the right of an individual to pretrial bail, Judges have wide discretion in Determining the Bail Amount in NJ. While New Jersey has adopted Ranges for Bail Amounts for Particular Crimes which are contained in the New Jersey Bail Schedule, that is only a guide for the Court to consider. Similarly, although restrictions and/or conditions for bail may be suggested or mandated by Court Rule or directive, Judges continue to have latitude in whether and how they shall be applied. At one extreme, the Court may release a defendant on his own recognizance with no bail. T his decision is completely discretionary and allows a suspect to be bailed out without having to pay any amount of money to be released. At the other end of the spectrum, a judge may deny bail altogether, set tight restrictions for posting bail, or even impose conditions on release of a defendant. At the end of the day, the Bail Schedule is the guide and, where an amount is ultimately set within this range, is to hinge on factors 1 through 8 set forth above
Attorneys Highly Experienced in Proceedings to Set Bail
The best lesson to be taken from the information on setting bail is that Judges possess considerable discretion as to where a bail amount is set. There is absolutely no doubt that thorough preparation by a skilled lawyer can often make a huge difference in this regard. The attorneys at our firm, the Law Offices of Jonathan Marshall, have over sixty (60) years of experience successfully representing individuals at bail proceedings. Our lawyers know what facts and issues need to be focused upon to insure that bail is set as low as possible to secure release from jail as quickly as possible. Call us today at 1-877-450-8301 to speak to a lawyer without obligation.