Bail Reduction Lawyer in Hudson County NJ
After an arrest has been effectuated by law enforcement, the court will set bail and the defendant will have the opportunity to post bail in accordance with the court’s requirements. (In Hudson County, this is usually accomplished at Central Judicial Processing) Absent limited circumstances, every criminal defendant has a right to bail. Once bail is set, if the defendant is unable to post bail, they must remain in the custody of the Hudson County Jail until their case is resolved. However, a defendant whom is being held on bail can hire an attorney to file what is known as a bail reduction motion. If successful, the defendant’s bail may be lowered, which may afford the defendant the opportunity to post bail and fight for their innocence from home. The Law Office of Jonathan F. Marshall is an experienced Hudson County NJ bail reduction defense firm. Our office has over 100 years of combined experience on staff. We have been filing bail reduction motions in the Hudson County Superior Court for over fifteen years. If you would like a free initial consultation with any one of our eight Jersey City bail reduction lawyers, please contact our office directly at (201) 309-1800. Now here is some key information on the different types of bail that a defendant may find themselves facing.
Cash Bail and the 10 Percent Option in NJ
One of the most basic and obvious ways of posting bail is to put-up to entire amount of bail set by the Judge. However, for those individuals without the necessary funds, this option is not always practical. The New Jersey Legislature clarified when the 10 percent cash option should be permitted when it enacted the 1994 N.J. Laws ch. 144 (N.J.S.A. 2A:162-12). That statute prohibits the 10 percent bail option in crimes of the first or second degree involving murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, sexual assault, robbery, carjacking, arson, causing or risking widespread injury or damage, burglary, theft by extortion, endangering the welfare of children, resisting arrest, eluding officer, escape, corrupting or influencing a jury, possession of weapons for unlawful purposes, weapons training for illegal activities, and soliciting or recruiting gang members, as well as any first or second degree drug-related crimes under Chapter 35 of Title 2C or any first or second degree racketeering crimes under Chapter 41 to Title 2C. It should be noted that any failure to appear at a later court date will constitute a forfeiture of the bail payment and disallow the party who posted the bail from having that money returned.
Who Can Post a Cash Bail in NJ?
Generally, anyone can post bail on behalf of the accused party. However, when cash is deposited by a person other than the defendant, the person making the deposit must file an affidavit or certification as to the lawful ownership of the cash so that upon discharge the cash may be returned to its owner. When cash equal to 10 percent of the bail fixed is deposited by someone other than the defendant, the owner may charge no fee other than lawful interest and must submit an affidavit or certification with the deposit so stating and also listing the names of any other persons for whom the owner has deposited bail. In addition, the person making the 10 percent cash deposit must file an affidavit or certification concerning the lawful ownership thereof, and on discharge such cash may be returned to the owner named in the affidavit.
If the defendant is not eligible for the 10 percent bail program, he/she may secure his/her release by obtaining a bond from a bail bondsman. The approximate cost to the defendant of obtaining such a bail bond is 10 percent of the amount of the bail. The defendant together with the bondsman must sign and execute a recognizance before a person authorized to take bail or, if the defendant is in custody, the person in charge of the place of confinement. The recognizance must contain the terms set forth in Rule 1:13-3(b) and is conditioned upon the defendant’s appearance at all stages of the proceedings. A corporate bail bondsman must be approved by the Commissioner of Insurance. No surety (bondsman) other than an approved corporate surety is permitted to enter into a recognizance or undertaking for bail if there remains undischarged any previous recognizance or bail undertaken by the surety unless authorized by the court.
A bail bondsman will usually make the defendant execute an indemnity agreement. The bondsman may make the defendant put up collateral. The indemnity agreement usually gives the bondsman full power to sell any pledged collateral or foreclose on any pledged real estate in the event bail is forfeited.
Posting Bail Through Real Property
Other than cash bail under a 10 percent program and bail bonds, the most common security used as bail is real property. Real property offered as bail must be approved by the county clerk of the county in which the offense occurred. The practice of accepting real property as bail varies from county to county. Generally county clerks require that the person (surety) offering real property as bail bring the deed to the property and a recent tax bill to the county clerk’s office. The value of the property is generally accepted as being that set forth on the tax bill, and in most cases the county clerk will consider the property adequate for use as bail if the value of the property exceeds any liens by the amount of the bail. As with other types of bail the defendant and any person (surety) offering their real property as bail must execute a recognizance. All persons named as record title owners in the deed must sign the recognizance.
Bail through Other Types of Property
In some instances, the defendant may seek to post bail through property other than cash or real property. To do so, the defendant or the surety offering such other property as bail must first convince the Finance Division Manager to accept other types of property. On example of this “other type of property” could be a bonds of the United States, the State of New Jersey, or any county or municipality of the State of New Jersey, so long as their face value is at least equal to the amount of the bail. If the Finance Division Manager decides to accept such property as bail then the defendant together with his/her sureties must sign and execute a recognizance which is recorded in the county clerk’s office.
Released on Own Recognizance (R.O.R.)
A defendant may either be released on his or her own recognizance based on the initial bail or a motion to reduce bail by the defendant’s attorney. For minor non-violent offenses, the judge may be inclined to release the defendant on their own recognizance rather than set bail. The determination of whether to release the defendant R.O.R., is made by a judge primarily on the basis of a report prepared by the county probation department. Most county probation departments have an investigator or two assigned to the preparation of such reports. Basically, a scoring system has been established, and when the positive aspects of a defendant’s background are sufficient to score a predetermined number of points the defendant is a candidate for release R.O.R. Frequently, defense counsel can assist the defendant in scoring this predetermined number of points by providing information to the probation department which when verified shows the defendant’s ties to the community. In marginal situations release on his/her own recognizance can be obtained if the defendant has a promise of employment upon his/her release. When a judge decides that a defendant should be released on his own or her own recognizance R.O.R. no monetary amount of bail may be set.