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 presumptive for crimes committed in an officer’s presence. Citations can be issued after arrest by law enforcement officers. (§2B:12-21 authorizes R. Crim. P. Rule 3:4-1)
Pretrial Release Eligibility
State constitution provides a presumption of pretrial release. Pretrial release can be denied for capital offenses. (Const. Art. 1 §11)
Pretrial Release Conditions
Law allows release on personal recognizance. Common conditions of release include: commercial surety, cash deposit and property bond. A full cash bond, surety bond executed by a corporation, or a real property that is $20,000 greater than the bail amount is required for crimes with bail restrictions as enumerated in §2A:162-12(a). A full cash bond is required for crimes with bail restrictions as enumerated in §2A:162-12(a) if the defendant has: two additional cases pending at the time of arrest; or has two prior convictions for distribution or possession of a controlled substance within a school zone; or one prior conviction for murder, aggravated manslaughter, aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping or bail jumping; or a violation of a protection order resulting in serious bodily injury; or at least one prior conviction for domestic violence or violation of a protection order. (§2A:162-12)
Bail Bond Agent Licensure
The Department of Banking and Insurance regulates bail agents. (§17:31-10)
Bail Forfeiture Procedure
After notification of their client’s failure to appear, a bail agent has 75 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. (§3:26-6; §17:31-11)
Recovery agents are required to apply for and maintain licensure. They are also required to follow set guidelines when making arrests on private property. (§45:19-30; §45:19-37)
Victims’ Rights and Protections
Victims have the right to notification of the pretrial release hearing and of pretrial release. (§2C:25-26.1; §52:4B-44)
Law authorizes diversion for specific first time offenders. (§2C:43-12 - 22.)
Full text of statutes can be retrieved using NCSL’s State Legislatures Internet Links database or learn more about NCSL’s Criminal Justice Program.