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. A citation can be issued after arrest by law enforcement officers. (22 § 209)
Pretrial Release Eligibility
State constitution and statute provide a presumption of pretrial release. Pretrial release can be denied for capital offenses, violent offenses, offenses punishable by life or life without parole, a felony if the defendant has two or more prior felony convictions, and dangerous controlled substance offenses when the maximum sentence is a minimum of 10 years. (Const. art. 2 § 8; 22 § 1101)
Guidance for Setting Release Conditions
Courts are instructed to use a risk assessment when considering release to a pretrial services program. (22 § 1105.3(B))
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. A minimum $15,000 bond is required for offenses related to prostitution as enumerated in §1105.3(B). (22 § 1105.3 & 1108.1)
Bail Bond Agent Licensure
The Insurance Commissioner regulates surety bondsmen and professional bondsmen. To be licensed, applicants must meet prelicense education and continuing education requirements. Applicants seeking to be surety bondsmen must also meet age requirements and cannot be: jailers; police officers; committing, municipal or district court judges; prisoners; sheriffs, deputy sheriffs or any person with arrest powers; prison officials; employed in certain alcohol based businesses. Crimes that can cause a surety bondsmen license to be denied or revoked include all felonies and misdemeanors involving dishonesty or moral turpitude. (59 Okl. St. Ann. § 1306; 59 Okl. St. Ann. § 1301)
Bail Bond Agent Business Practices
Bail agents are prohibited from soliciting business any place prisoners are confined, arraigned or in custody. They cannot offer legal advice, recommend an attorney or make arrangements with public officials. No bails bondsman or bail bond agency may advertise as a surety company. (59 Okl. St. Ann. § 1310)
Bail Forfeiture Procedure
After notification of their client’s failure to appear, a bail agent has 90 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 the suspension of the agent’s authority to execute new bonds. (59 Okl. St. Ann. § 1332; 59 Okl. St. Ann. § 1310)
Victims’ Rights and Protections
Victims have the right to notification of pretrial release. Pretrial release hearings are required for a violation of a protection order, domestic abuse, stalking, harassment, domestic assault, and domestic assault or battery with a deadly weapon. Electronic monitoring that includes technology to allow the victim to monitor the location of the defendant can be ordered for domestic assault and battery; stalking; harassment; sexual assault; forcible sodomy; and for a violation of a protection order involving any of the above offenses. (Const. art. II, § 34; 22 § 1105(B); 22 § 60.17)
Diversion programs authorized include: worthless checks and property crimes programs; and substance abuse problem-solving courts. District attorneys are authorized to establish diversion programs. (22 § 991f-1.1, § 305.1; § 471 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.