Bail Reform and the Criminal Justice Reform Act

Trenton, NJ Criminal Defense Lawyers Help Clients Maintain Their Freedom While Awaiting Trial

On January 1, 2017, the State of New Jersey committed to substantial bail reform that is expected
to have a substantial effect on criminal defendants and improve equity and public safety.

In the past, New Jersey relied on a monetary bail system. Depending on the crime at issue, a bail
amount was set. Criminal defendants who did not have the money to pay for bail could therefore
be held in jail until trial. This New Jersey law did not properly assess risk, but rather, it operated
primarily to give those with more money the ability to avoid being held in jail until trial.

The implementation of a risk-based conditional release system in New Jersey operates on entirely
different principles. Before the new bail rules, the defendant in a criminal case was required to pay
monetary bail as a condition for release. Now, the court will assess whether you can be safely
released until trial based on a number of factors, including the risk of you failing to appear for trial
(flight risk) and the risk of you committing another crime during the period of your pretrial release.

Procedure Following Arrest in New Jersey

After you have been criminally charged, you will appear in court for your first court appearance
within two days of your arrest and detainment in county jail. During this court appearance, the
judge will place you on pretrial release (with various reporting and monitoring restrictions,
depending on the risks that you present), or the prosecutor will request that you be detained
without bail. In the latter instance, you will later attend a detention hearing where a Superior Court

Judge will determine whether to confirm the earlier detainment request or release you on pretrial
conditions. The detention hearing is an extremely important step in the new bail reform process
and representation by an experienced criminal defense attorney should be seriously considered to
help your friend or family member presently detained.

Pretrial Release Requirements in NJ

If you have been detained without bail, then trial must begin within six months of the indictment.
If you have been placed on pretrial release, however, this deadline restriction is not applicable.
During the period of your pretrial release, you could be subject to a number of different restrictions
that include:

  • Phone, text, or email reminders for court dates
  • Weekly or monthly reporting to a pretrial services officer
  • Electronic monitoring
  • Home detention
  • Prohibitions on travel

Violation of any of the pretrial release conditions could result in the revocation of your conditional
release.

Connect Keith Hirschorn to Discuss Bail & Pretrial Release Options in NJ Criminal Case. Keith
Hirschorn, P.C. has years of experience helping clients in a range of criminal defense matters. We
also have a track record of success in obtaining favorable verdicts and dismissals for our clients.
We believe in personalized representation, and we work closely with clients to tailor a defense
strategy to the specifics of each case. Call 201-798-4444, or use our online contact, to get connected with an experienced New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyer today.