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.
Pretrial Release Eligibility
State constitution and statute provide a presumption of pretrial release. Pretrial release can be denied for capital offenses and for an illegal alien charged with any offense. (Const. art. 1 § 20; § 544.455; § 544.470)
Pretrial Release Conditions
Law allows release on personal recognizance. Common conditions of release include: commercial surety, cash deposit, other secured bond, supervision and additional requirements. Electronic monitoring is authorized for any defendant eligible for pretrial release. (§ 544.455; § 374.710)
When a defendant is unable to meet the pretrial release conditions, a judicial review is required after 24 hours in custody. (§ 544.455)
Bail Bond Agent Licensure
The Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration regulates bail bond agents and general bail bond agents. To be licensed, applicants must meet prelicense education and continuing education requirements. Applicants seeking to become general bail bond agents must also pass an exam. (§ 374.710; § 374.700 to 374.775)
Bail Bond Agent Business Practices
Bail agents cannot offer legal advice or make arrangements with public officials. (§ 374.717; § 374.755)
Bail Forfeiture Procedure
After notification of their client’s failure to appear, a bail agent has six months 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. Unpaid forfeitures can result in suspension of the agent’s authority to execute new bonds. (§ 374.763; § 374.770; § 544.640; § 374.755)
Recovery agents have similar licensing requirements as bail agents. They are also required to wear identifying clothing and follow set guidelines when making arrests on private property. (§ 374.783; § 374.788)
Victims’ Rights and Protections
Victims have the right to notification of, be consulted about, attend and be heard at the pretrial release hearing. They also have the right to notification of pretrial release. (595.209(5) & (7); (4); Const. art. I, § 32)
Substance abuse problem-solving courts are authorized diversion programs. Local jurisdictions are authorized to establish diversion programs. (§ 217.777; § 478.001 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.