Since 2017, bail has become a bit fairer in New Jersey. This is due to the Bail Reform and Speedy Trial Act which eliminated cash bail.
This act led to a decrease in the pretrial jail population. Here is an overview of how the system works nowadays.
1. Issuance of complaint
Law enforcement takes the defendant’s fingerprints and runs a background check through the state’s database at this stage of the bail process. The prosecution determines whether to issue a summons or court warrant using that information.
2. Issuance of warrant or summons
If a court issues a warrant, the defendant may be placed under arrest to ensure he or she appears in court. With the issuance of a summons, a request to appear in court goes to the defendant.
3. Assessment of public safety
The prosecution may perform a public safety assessment, in which they utilize the individual’s history of criminal behavior to decide whether he or she presents a flight risk. There are some crimes, such as weapons charges or murder, that necessitate the defendant to remain in custody until trial.
4. First appearance hearing
This hearing is so that the judge can evaluate the possibility for bail and advise you of your rights.
5. Motion for detention
The prosecution must file a motion for detention no longer than 48 hours after the defendant arrives in jail. When the prosecution files a motion for detention, the hearing takes place within three to five business days. Otherwise, a judge determines whether to detain or release the defendant.
6. Decision of the court
Courts can decide to release a defendant on his or her own recognizance, place him or her under house arrest, or detain them.
This system might help individuals avoid unnecessary time behind bars.