State legislatures consider and enact laws that address all aspects of pretrial policy, including citations, release eligibility, conditions of release, commercial bail bonding, victims’ rights and diversion. These legislative policies have an important role in providing fair, efficient and safe practices carried out by law enforcement and the courts.
Below is a synopsis of this state’s pretrial release laws as of March 2013 and any relevant legislative reports or audits. Recent enactments modifying these provisions can be found in NCSL’s pretrial enactments database.
Citation in Lieu of Arrest
Issuing a citation is not presumptive, however a citation can be issued for misdemeanors. Citations can be issued after arrest by peace officers. (§ 13-3903)
Pretrial Release Eligibility
State constitution and statute provide a presumption of pretrial release. The constitution allows pretrial release to be denied for capital offenses, felony offenses, sexual conduct or molestation of a minor, serious felony offenses if the defendant is in the country illegally as defined by the Legislature, felony committed while on pretrial release for a felony offense. Statute allows pretrial release to be denied for aggravated driving under the influence by a person in the country illegally, felonies involving dangerous crimes against children, terrorism, and if the defendant is a street gang member. (Const. art. 2 § 22; § 13-3967(a); § 13-3961(a))
Pretrial Release Conditions
Law allows release on personal recognizance. Common conditions of release include: commercial surety, other secured bond, supervision and additional requirements. (§ 13-3967)
Defendants charged with capital offenses, felony offenses, sexual conduct or molestation of a minor, felonies involving dangerous crimes against children, terrorism, aggravated driving under the influence if the person is in the country illegally, or if the defendant is a street gang member or require a hearing to deny pretrial release. State law specifies time frames for when the hearing must be held, address detainment of the defendant pending the outcome of the hearing and enumerates rights of the defendant. (§ 13-3961)
Bail Bond Agent Licensure
The Director of Insurance regulates bail bond agents. To be licensed, applicants must meet residency requirements and pass an exam and a criminal background check. They cannot be employed as law enforcement agents, court officials, attorneys, officials authorized to admit to bail, or state or county officers. Crimes for which a license can be denied or revoked include theft, all felonies, and carrying, illegal use or possession of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. (§ 20-340.01)
Bail Bond Agent Business Practices
Bail agents are prohibited from soliciting business any place prisoners are confined or in any court. They cannot recommend an attorney or make arrangements with public officials. A bail bond company may not advertise as a surety company. (§ 20-340.03)
Recovery agents are overseen by the same regulatory authority as bail agents and are subject to lesser licensing requirements. Associations with bail agents must be disclosed. (§ 20-340.04)
Victims’ Rights and Protections
Victims have the right to notification of, to attend and be heard at the pretrial release hearing. Victims also have a right to notification of pretrial release and the conditions of release. Electronic monitoring can be ordered for offenses involving sexual exploitation of children. (§ 13-4407; § 13-4412; § 13-4422; § 13-4406; Const. art. II, § 2.1; § 13-3967(E))
Worthless check diversion programs are authorized. The prosecuting attorney’s advisory council is also authorized to establish diversion programs. (§ 13-1810; § 11-361)
Full text of statutes can be retrieved using NCSL’s State Legislatures Internet Links database or learn more about NCSL’s Criminal Justice Program.