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 except for traffic violations. Citations can be issued at any time during the arrest process by law enforcement officers. (§ 22-2408)
Pretrial Release Eligibility
State constitution and statute provide a presumption of pretrial release. Pretrial release can be denied for capital offenses and defendants charged as sexually violent predators. (Const. Bill of Rights § 9; § 22-2802 § 59-29a20)
Guidance for Setting Release Conditions
Courts are instructed to use a risk assessment when considering release to a personal recognizance program. (§ 22-2815)
Pretrial Release Conditions
Law allows release on an unsecured appearance bond. Common conditions of release include: commercial surety, cash deposit, property bond, supervision and additional requirements. Electronic monitoring is authorized for any defendant eligible for pretrial release. (§ 22-2802; § 22-2806)
When a defendant is unable to meet the pretrial release conditions, a judicial review is required without unnecessary delay after receiving the request. (§ 22-2802)
Bail Forfeiture Procedure
After notification of their client’s failure to appear, a bail agent has 60 days to produce the defendant or provide an adequate reason why the defendant did not appear. Courts are instructed to consider absences due to detention elsewhere. Statute addresses standards for remission procedure. (§ 22-2807)
Recovery agents do not need a license, but must carry a certificate to show completion of required education courses. Associations with bail agents must be disclosed. (§ 22-2809a)
Victims’ Rights and Protections
Pretrial release hearings are required for criminal trespass in violation of a protection order. If a bail bond is forfeited, the funds can be applied to a crime victims’ assistance fund and a victims’ compensation fund upon the defendant’s conviction. (§ 22-29.1(7); § 74-7336)
Diversion programs authorized include: substance abuse and domestic relations programs. The City Attorney is authorized to establish diversion programs. (§ 12-4414; § 22-2907)
Full text of statutes can be retrieved using NCSL’s State Legislatures Internet Links database or learn more about NCSL’s Criminal Justice Program.