Ask a Buena Vista, NJ Criminal Attorney: How is Bail Determined in NJ?
What is Bail?
The Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States protects and individual’s right to bail if they are arrested. Bail is collateral or the money given to the court and in criminal cases it is the collective sum of real property, money or surety bond. This is so that an accused individual who is being held in custody can be temporarily released so as to proceed with his/her life while preparing a response to the charges brought against them in court. Bail is posted on behalf of the defendant or by the defendant so as to guarantee he/she will return to court for all of his/her required appearances in court until the end of his/her trial.
How is Bail Determined in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, bail is either set by a judge, a municipal court administrator, or a deputy court administrator. For very serious crimes such as murder or manslaughter, bail is set by a Superior Court Judge. For lesser charges, bail is typically set by a Municipal Court Judge.
There are several factors that a judge or administrator will take into consideration when setting the amount of bail, such as:
- How severe is the alleged offense?
- How strong or weak is the evidence against the accused?
- What is the criminal history of the defendant?
- What are the responsibilities and employment of the defendant?
- What are the economic and geographical indexes of the defendant?
- What are the community ties of the defendant?
- With what certainty is the defendant likely to appear for court appearances acting on his own will?
How do Post Bail and Bail Bonds Work?
Upon the defendant’s release, a relative, friend or defendant will contact a criminal defense attorney or bail agency and arrange to post the bail. To ensure a defendant’s necessary return to court and after an agreement is determined, a bail bondsman will post the bail bond in the amount of the bail.
State law allows a licensed surety bail bond agency to provide an insurance type of policy, a bond, which will ensure payment of the full amount of the bail in the case of a defendant not appearing in court for all his/her scheduled court appearances.
When a bail bond agency agrees to pay a bond, they will charge a percentage of the bond amount. The charge is called a premium and is most often ten percent of the total bond amount. If the defendant is found not guilty or released from custody, then the premium (percentage of the total amount of bond) is non-refundable.
Because bail bonds are financial guarantees to ensure the defendant will appear in court for all required appearances, failure by the accused to appear in court, often called a “skip”, will result in a forfeiture of the bond. In this case, the bail contract co-signers, by previous agreement, will be required to pay the court the bond’s full amount. The defendant looses the right to the money and collateral.
If a defendant skips bail and is arrested, the co-signer of the bail bond will be responsible to the bail enforcement agent for all the expenses incurred during the time of locating the defendant.
If you have been arrested in Buena Vista, NJ or in New Jersey
The criminal defense team at the Law Offices of Joseph Lombardo have been defending individuals who have been arrested and charged with all types of crimes in Buena Vista and Southern New Jersey since 1993. Prior to being a criminal defense attorney, Joseph Lombardo was a Municipal Court Prosecutor, and he can put his knowledge of the Municipal Court System and the bail hearing process to use in your defense. Mr. Lombardo is happy to answer any questions you may have about your charges, the circumstances surrounding your arrest, or the bail process. Once you have been arrested, involving an attorney (often before the bail process) as early in the process as possible, is to your advantage. Mr. Lombardo can work to so that you are granted bail, and that it is for a reasonable amount. Mr. Lombardo is also experienced in motions to reduce bail and hearings to lift bail restrictions. Contact him today at (609)-561-8100.