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 class C misdemeanors except for offenses involving violence, threat of violence, or alcohol or drugs. Citations can be issued after arrest by law enforcement officers. (§11-45-9.1)
Pretrial Release Eligibility
State constitution and statute provide a presumption of pretrial release. Pretrial release can be denied for capital offenses. (Const. art. 1 §16; §15-13-108)
Pretrial Release Conditions
Law allows release on personal recognizance. Common conditions of release include: commercial surety, cash deposit, property bond, supervision and additional requirements. (§15-13-111; §15-20A-20; §15-13-145; §15-13-146)
Bail Bond Agent Licensure
The Department of Insurance regulates professional bondsmen. To be licensed, applicants must meet residency requirements and not be employed as certain judicial officials, attorneys or persons authorized to accept an appearance bond. Crimes for which a license can be denied or revoked include all felonies and crimes of moral turpitude. (§ 15-13-22; § 15-13-159; § 15-13-160; § 15-13-101)
Bail Forfeiture Procedure
After notification of their client’s failure to appear, a bail agent has 28 days to produce the defendant or provide an adequate reason why the defendant did not appear. Statute addresses standards for remission procedure. Unpaid forfeitures can result in suspension of the agent’s authority to execute new bonds. (§ 15-13-132; § 15-13-139; § 15-13-141)
Victims’ Rights and Protections
Victims have the right to notification of pretrial release. Pretrial release hearings are required for domestic violence offenses involving physical contact with the victim or for a violation of a protection order. Electronic monitoring can be ordered for sex offenses that require registration. (§15-23-75(4); §15-13-190(a); §15-20A-20)
Diversion programs authorized include: substance abuse, mental health and domestic relations programs; and substance abuse problem-solving courts. (§12-23A; Act 2013-361)
Full text of statutes can be retrieved using NCSL’s State Legislatures Internet Links database or learn more about NCSL’s Criminal Justice Program.