Kenneth Vercammen is a Middlesex County trial attorney who has published 130 articles in national and New Jersey publications on Criminal Law and litigation topics. Appointments can be scheduled at 732-572-0500. He is author of the ABA's book "Criminal Law Forms".
2053 Woodbridge Avenue - Edison, NJ 08817

Friday, June 26, 2009

Bail Rights If Charged With A Criminal Offense

Right To Bail If Charged With A Criminal Offense

As set forth in NJ Practice, Vol. 31, Criminal Practice and Procedure, (1997), Sec 292, the defendant has a right to bail before conviction except if he/she is charged with a crime punishable by death and the prosecutor presents proof that there is a likelihood of conviction and reasonable grounds to believe that the death penalty may be imposed. 3 This means that absent exceptional circumstances the defendant has a right to pretrial liberty if the defendant provides surety in such amount as in the judgment of the court will insure the defendant's appearance at trial. 4 Stated in other terms, the right to bail means that in the absence of exceptional circumstances the defendant has the right to have the court set bail in an amount which does not exceed that which will insure defendant's appearance at trial, and if the defendant can "come up" with cash in that amount, or 10 percent of that amount if the defendant is eligible to be released on 10 percent cash bail,5 or a bond or other surety, then the defendant must be released.


Any person unable to post bail shall have his or her bail reviewed by a Superior Court judge not later than the next day which is neither a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday. 7 A first motion for a reduction of bail shall be held by the Court no later than 7 days after it is filed.8


R. 3:26-1(a) provides in relevant part that "{a}ll persons, shall be bailable before conviction on such terms as, in the judgment of the court, will insure their presence in court when required having regard for their background, residence, employment and family status and, particularly, the general policy against unnecessary sureties and detention." These factors are specified in more detail in State v. Johnson 10 as follows: seriousness of the charge; the likelihood of conviction and the extent of punishment; defendant's criminal record, if any, and previous record on bail, if any; defendant's reputation and mental condition; the length of his/her residence in the community; defendant's family ties and relationships; defendant's employment status, record of employment and financial condition; the identity of responsible members of the community vouching for his/her reliability; and any other factors indicating defendant's mode of life, or ties to the community. The likelihood of flight must be considered in light of these factors and bail set accordingly. R. 3:26-2[c]. R. 3:26-2[d]. 61 N.J. 351, 294 A.2d 245 [1972].
The Courts often examine some of the following criteria:


- Lived at present residence one year or more.


No convictions.


- Lives with family and has frequent contact with other relatives.


- Has regular job less than four months, or receiving Unemployment Compensation, or welfare aid, or supported by family or savings.


- Ten years or more residence or business in New Jersey.


- Good Health
If facing a criminal offense, retain an attorney to represent you immediately.

No comments: