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 and petty misdemeanors. Citations can be issued prior to arrest by police officers. (§ 803-6)
Pretrial Release Eligibility
State statute provides a presumption of pretrial release. Pretrial release can be denied for offenses punishable by life and serious crimes as enumerated in § 804-3(a). (Const. art. 1 § 12; §804-4(a); § 804-3)
Guidance for Setting Release Conditions
Risk assessments are to be used at the court’s discretion when determining conditions of release. (§ 353-10)
Pretrial Release Conditions
Law allows release on personal recognizance. Common conditions of release include: commercial surety, cash deposit, property bond, other secured bond, supervision and additional requirements. Electronic monitoring is authorized for all defendants detained except those charged with non-probational class A felonies or with a conviction involving serious bodily injury in the previous five years. (§ 804-3, 11.5)
Defendants charged with offenses punishable by life or serious crimes as enumerated in §804-3(a) require a hearing to deny pretrial release. (§ 804-3)
Bail Bond Agent Business Practices
The premium rate a bail agent can charge is a minimum of $50 or between 5 percent and 15 percent of the bond. (§ 804-62)
Bond Forfeiture Procedure
After notification of their client’s failure to appear, a bail agent has 30 days to produce the defendant or provide an adequate reason why the defendant did not appear. (§ 804-51)
Victims’ Rights and Protections
Victims have the right to notification of pretrial release. (§ 801D-4(a))
Full text of statutes can be retrieved using NCSL’s State Legislatures Internet Links database or learn more about NCSL’s Criminal Justice Program.