Bail in New Jersey Criminal Cases
Passaic County NJ Criminal Defense Attorney
Criminal defense attorney Alissa D. Hascup represents clients throughout New Jersey, including in Wayne, Clifton, Paterson, Totowa, and Passaic County, who have been charged with criminal offenses such as kidnapping, burglary, terroristic threats, and endangering the welfare of a child. Ms. Hascup is battle-tested criminal defense lawyer who is prepared to assist you with case-related issues and collateral issues. She will attack the criminal charges against you and put you in a position to achieve the best possible result.
She has successfully handled countless cases in New Jersey, in Superior Court (indictable/felony level offenses) and Municipal Court (disorderly persons/misdemeanor level offenses). Ms. Hascup is a former domestic violence prosecutor and special deputy attorney general. During the course of her career with the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, she has handled cases ranging from Homicide (murder) and aggravated assault to robbery and weapons offenses. Now she is fighting for you. Contact the law office of Alissa D. Hascup in Paterson, New Jersey anytime for an initial consultation, which is always provided free of charge.
Factors Considered When Setting Bail in New Jersey
If you are arrested on a criminal charge, bail will be set. The purpose of bail is to ensure that you return to court when scheduled – not to keep you incarcerated until your charges are resolved. When setting bail, judges are guided by the New Jersey Bail Guidelines. There are, however, certain factors that will cause judges to depart from the guidelines in setting bail. Those factors are:
In evaluating this factor, judges can consider where you reside, the length of time that you have resided there, your ties to the community, your reputation in the community, and your mental health status. For instance, if you are not a citizen of the United States and/or have a pending immigration issue, you are generally considered a greater flight risk.
Judges can also consider the seriousness of your charges, the strength of the proofs against you, and your potential sentencing exposure should you be convicted. For example, if you are facing a murder charge, which carries exposure of more than 30 years in New Jersey State Prison without the benefit of parole, you are generally considered a greater flight risk.
Lastly, judges can consider your prior history while on bail (if any) in determining whether you pose a flight risk. Often times, judges will be made aware of prior bench warrants (out of any court in any state, including municipal courts).
Danger to Self or Others
In evaluating this factor, judges can again consider the seriousness of your charges and the strength of the proofs against you, including whether the charges are of a violent nature.
In a domestic violence context, this is a critical evaluation and judges will take into account the position of the victim (i.e., whether he/she has a safety concern). Prior convictions for violent offenses can also have an effect on this consideration.
New Jersey Bail Options
Released On Recognizance (“ROR”)
In less serious cases where you have a minimal or no prior record, you can be released on your own recognizance (also known as “RORed”) by the court. This means that you are being trusted to return to court when scheduled. You do not have to post a monetary bail.
It is important to remember, however, that even though you have been RORed, you are still technically on bail and you need to abide by any and all conditions of your bail.
In all cases, bail can be posted in cash. The amount necessary will depend on whether you have been given the 10% option. The 10% option means that you will be permitted to post 10% of your bail to be released. (For example, if your bail is $10,000 with the 10% option, you can post $1,000 to be released.) If there is no 10% option, the full amount of the bail must be posted. Any monies that you post will be held and returned to you at the conclusion of your case when the bail is “exonerated.”
In some cases, bail can be posted through the use of property as collateral. Generally, you must have equity in the property and be able to prove that to the County Clerk of the county in which your case is pending – generally by producing the deed and a recent appraisal. (The equity will serve as the collateral for the bail amount. So, if the property has a high value, but no equity, it will be insufficient for purposes of bail.)
It is important to remember, however, that should you fail to appear for court as scheduled, the court can proceed with a foreclosure action.
In some cases, bail can also be posted through the use of a bail bondsman, who will post a “bond” on your behalf if you can afford to do so. Generally, a bail bondsman will require you to pay a portion of the bail as the fee. They then post the rest.
It is important to remember, however, that unlike posting cash bail, if you pay a bail bondsman, you do not get that money back at the end of the case.
Conditions of Bail in New Jersey
There are standard conditions of bail, such as appearing in court when scheduled and not leaving the jurisdiction without permission. There can sometime be special conditions on bail. Those conditions remain in effect unless they are specifically vacated by the judge or the case is resolved and bail is “exonerated.” Some common bail conditions are surrendering of your passport, no return to the scene of the incident, or a “bail source hearing.”
A “bail source hearing” is a special condition most often seen in drug cases or money laundering cases. It means that you need to prove that the “source” of your bail money is not illegal. Often times, this can be accomplished by provided bank records, tax returns, and other supporting documentation.
In a domestic violence context, the most common bail condition is “No Contact” with the victim (and, in some instances, members of the victim’s family). “No Contact” means a strict prohibition against contact of any kind with the victim – written, verbal, text, e-mail, social media, etc. It also means a strict prohibition against appearing at the victim’s home, place of employment, etc. If a bail condition is violated, it could mean forfeiture of the bail or other sanctions (i.e., you could be re-incarcerated).
Contact a Paterson NJ Bail Lawyer for a Free Consultation
For additional information on your bail options, contact Alissa D. Hascup right away. Fill out her online contact form or call her Paterson, NJ office today.