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 prior to arrest by police officers for misdemeanors punishable by no more than 93 days imprisonment. Authorized public servants can issue citations prior to arrest for any offense less than a felony except domestic assault, a violation of a protection order, and crimes subject to mandatory confinement or mandatory conditions of pretrial release. (§764.9c)
Pretrial Release Eligibility
State constitution and statute provide a presumption of pretrial release. Pretrial release can be denied for murder, treason, violent felonies if the defendant has two previous violent felony convictions within 15 years, 1st degree criminal sexual conduct, armed robbery, kidnapping with intent to extort money, and a violent felony while on pretrial release for a violent felony. (Const. art. 1 § 15; § 765.5, § 765.6(1))
Pretrial Release Conditions
Common conditions of release include: commercial surety, cash deposit, property bond, other secured bond and supervision. A full cash bond or other secured bond is required for offenses committed while on pretrial release with a personally secured bond and for defendants with two previous felony convictions within five years. (§ 765.6; § 765.6a; § 765.6b; § 765.13; § 765.20; § 780.62)
Bail Forfeiture Procedure
After notification of their client’s failure to appear, a bail agent has 45 days to produce the defendant or provide an adequate reason why the defendant did not appear. Statute addresses standards for remission procedure. (§ 765.15)
Victims’ Rights and Protections
Victims have the right to notification of pretrial release. Electronic monitoring that includes an electronic receptor device can be ordered for domestic violence offenses. (§ 780.755; § 780.815; § 765.6b(6))
Veterans/active military problem-solving courts are authorized diversion programs. (§ 600.1200 et seq.)
Full text of statutes can be retrieved using NCSL’s State Legislatures Internet Links database or learn more about NCSL’s Criminal Justice Program.