Pretrial Release Attorney in Mt. Holly NJ
New Jersey has undertaken a dramatic reform of its bail system that has virtually eliminated the posting of money in return for pretrial release. The new system discourages monetary bails in favor of a framework that utilizes a public safety assessment, commonly referred to as a PSA, to determine whether someone should be released from custody prior to trial. Unfortunately, the same framework gives prosecutors the ability to apply for detention at a defendant’s first appearance and this results in their being held at the Burlington County Jail until a formal detention hearing may be conducted. It is crucially important to retain a talented criminal lawyer quickly after an arrest so that they may attempt to persuade the prosecutor not to file a motion to detain and, if they do, to prepare for the hearing. Success in either respect by your attorney is pivotal, otherwise, the accused remains in jail until his or her charges are resolved many months later.
The lawyers at our Mount Holly Criminal Firm have the skill to ensure that you obtain pretrial release. The qualifications of the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall include:
- Over 200 years of combined experience defending handgun, drugs, domestic violence and other criminal charges arising in Pemberton, Mt. Laurel, Burlington City, Bordentown, Evesham, Cinnaminson, Florence and throughout the county
- A team of ten litigators whose practices are dedicated exclusively to representing the accused
- Former prosecutors that have served in the Domestic Violence Unit, Juvenile, Homicide and even as Directors of Major Crimes, the Trial Division, Special Operations, and the Guns Task Force
- Certified criminal trial attorneys on staff
- Countless jury trials handled to completion
- An office conveniently located just a block from the Burlington County Superior Court in Mt. Holly New Jersey
An attorney on our staff is ready to discuss all of the aspects of your case, pretrial release, detention hearing or any other issues you would like to explore. The consultation is free and available to you 24/7 by calling 609-491-2110.
The lawyers at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, 217 High St #201, Mt Holly, NJ 08060, represent clients to obtain pretrial release and avoid detention following an arrest in Pemberton, Bordentown, Mt. Laurel, Evesham, Medford, Burlington City, Cinnaminson, Florence, Southampton, Burlington Township, Willingboro and other local municipalities in Burlington County.
Process For Pretrial Release In Burlington County
New Jersey Criminal Justice Reform was intended to promote pretrial release without bond or money provided there are conditions that may be imposed to ensure that the defendant appears in court and will not pose a threat to public safety nor obstruct or attempt to obstruct the criminal justice process. The primary tool used by the court to determine whether a defendant will appear, refrain from new criminal activity and will not obstruct prosecution is the Public Safety Assessment/PSA. The headings below outline some of the more detailed components of the pretrial release process.
What Is A Public Safety Assessment? A PSA is a computer-based model that predicts the defendant’s: (1) risk of re-offending if released (i.e. risk of new criminal activity); and (2) risk of not appear or obstructing prosecution (i.e. risk of failure to appear). Both of these risks are measured on a scale of 1 to 6 with 1 being the lowest risk and 6 being the greatest. These risk scores are derived after inputting the following factors into PSA computer algorithm:
(1) defendant’s age at current arrest;
(2) current violent offense, or current violent offense by a defendant twenty years old or younger;
(3) pending charge(s) at the time of arrest;
(4) prior misdemeanor convictions;
(5) prior felony convictions or any prior convictions (misdemeanor or felony);
(6) prior violent convictions;
(7) prior failures to appear in the past two years;
(8) prior failures to appear older than two years; and
(9) prior sentences leading to incarceration.
Is there any difference between the pretrial process when a complaint is issued on a summons v. a warrant complaint? There is a huge difference between how pretrial release is handled when a criminal charge is issued on a summons. There is no formal taking of a defendant into custody when an offense is filed on a summons so there is no threat of being detained. If someone is arrested on a warrant complaint, they cannot be released until they have completed an initial appearance before a judge. This is supposed to occur within forty-eight hours of the initial arrest.
How does a detention motion arise? The Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office has an absolute right to file a motion to detain a defendant anytime prior to the initial appearance. An individual is automatically detained for an additional three days so that a detention hearing may be conducted. The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether there are any conditions that the court can impose that will ensure the appearance of the accused in court, the safety of the public and that the criminal justice process will not be obstructed. The court must consider the defendant’s character, physical and mental condition, past conduct, and other personal history and characteristics.
What is the standard of proof in a detention hearing? As a general rule, there is a presumption in favor of pretrial release. The prosecutor must establish, by clear and convincing evidence, that there are no conditions that could be imposed to ensure the appearance of the defendant, that he/she will not commit other criminal acts or obstruct. In determining whether the prosecutor has overcome this presumption, the court may consider the factors set forth in N.J.S.A. 2A:162-20, including: (1) nature and circumstances of the offense charged; (2) weight of the evidence (3) the history and characteristics of the defendant; (4) nature and seriousness of the danger to any other person or the community by release; (5) the nature and seriousness of the risk of obstructing or attempting to obstruct the criminal justice process if release; and (6) the release recommendation of pretrial services based on the PSA.
What pretrial release conditions may be imposed by the court? There are various conditions that may be imposed by the court in the event that a defendant is not released on his/her own recognizance (i.e. ROR). The primary condition utilized to ensure that a defendant appears and does not commit criminal acts if released is Pretrial Monitoring, namely, Pretrial Monitoring Level 1 (PML1), Pretrial Monitoring Level 2 (PML2) and Pretrial Monitoring Level 3 (PML3). PML1 requires monthly phone reporting to Burlington County Pretrial Services. Individuals report once a month in person and once a month by telephone when they are on PML2. PML3 contemplates weekly reporting by either telephone or in-person. There is also the possibility of PML3 Plus, an individual is required to adhere to PML3 reporting and either submit to electronic monitoring or home detention. At PML 3, defendants are monitored in person or by phone every week and are also subject to monitored conditions. Defendants at the next level, PML 3 plus electronic monitoring (i.e. GPS ankle monitor) or home detention.
Pretrial Detention In Handgun Gun Cases. There are special considerations that should be considered if you are facing a Handgun Charge in Burlington County. While there is no set pretrial release rule in gun cases, the New Jersey Attorney General has issued a directive to all prosecutors that asks that a motion to detain be filed in all cases where an individual is charged with unlawful possession of a handgun.
Mount Holly Detention Hearing Defense Lawyers
We appreciate the extreme importance of your loved one being granted pretrial release. Our focus in every case of this nature is, therefore, to either defeat a motion to detain or head one-off by persuading the prosecutor not to apply for detention. More importantly, we have a long track record of securing pretrial release for our clients and are ready to achieve a favorable result for you. We encourage you to contact the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall for the answers you need from a highly seasoned criminal lawyer. Initial consultations are free of charge and an attorney is available around the clock for assistance at 609-491-2110.