High Bails Lead to Overcrowded Jail in Oklahoma

Oklahoma jail overcrowding bondsThe Oklahoma County jail has become so overcrowded that the situation has reached a crisis point. The population has risen to more than 2,750 people in the past two months. Officials are concerned about how this can affect the safety of detention officers, lawyers, bail bondsmen, officials, and inmates.

County officials and bail bondsmen met recently to discuss the problem. Jail officials said the population needs to be reduced quickly to about 2,300 inmates.

Oklahoma County’s public defender, Robert Ravitz, believes the overcrowding is happening because judges are setting bonds too high for minor crimes. People who are unable to post bond are locked up in jail until their cases go to trial. A motion was passed on September 11 to appoint a committee to review bond amounts set for a variety of crimes.

About 400 more people were arrested by Oklahoma City police in August than in July. Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel believes that is because the Oklahoma City police graduated a new class of recruits in August.

Whetsel said the overcrowded jail has become a new normal. The higher number of inmates has raised costs for all aspects of jail operations beyond the amounts in the requested and allocated budgets.

The sheriff’s office has had to cut 115 positions, which included 65 people. It was forced to make a 25 percent reduction in the patrol division, an 18 percent cut in courtroom and courthouse security, and a 13 percent reduction in detention.

The officials also discussed own recognizance (OR) bonds at the meeting. A person arrested for a minor crime with little or no criminal record would usually qualify for an OR bond. That means the person would be released without having to pay to post bond and would be required to attend all court dates.

District Judge Ray Elliott said he was skeptical of the program because of inaccuracies in some inmates’ information, but he believes overcrowding at the jail is a more pressing issue. He said people are sometimes held five to seven days before they are booked into the jail and able to post bond.

Bondsmen are concerned about OR bonds because no one polices people who are released on their own recognizance. If someone who is released on bond skips a court appearance, the bondsman can send a bounty hunter to find the person.

Bondsmen say OR bonds affect their business. People sometimes wait in jail to see if they will be released on their own recognizance and do not contact bail bondsmen to bail them out. This also contributes to overcrowding at the jail.

A study committee recommended that county commissioners ask voters to approve a sales tax to fund a new $330 million, 2,800-bed jail. Efforts to ask voters to approve the sales tax are on hold because a deadline to call for a November election passed without action being taken. The committee also recommended that the county’s juvenile justice facility be remodeled and improvements be made to mental health and substance abuse programs.

Connecticut Considers Bail Reform

Connecticut bail reformThousands of people are in pretrial detention in Connecticut every day, and over 500 are held on bonds of $20,000 or less because they cannot pay bail bondsmen their fees, which are typically 10 percent, to get out of jail. Connecticut is considering reforms that would reduce the number of people held in jail because they are unable to post bail.

Those who are unable to raise bail are disproportionately minorities. Over the past 20 years, the amount of time they spend detained prior to trial has grown from two weeks to almost two months.

Governor Dannel P. Malloy and members of his administration believe too many people are being held in jail who do not pose a risk to the community. The state is working with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to generate ideas for reforms that would be in line with Malloy’s Second Chance Society initiative, which reduced some drug crimes from felonies to misdemeanors and eliminated mandatory minimum sentences for some drug-related crimes.

The state of Connecticut received a $150,000 grant from the MacArthur Foundation in May to create a plan by December to reform the state’s jail system. The plan would include pretrial detention and people serving short sentences. Connecticut is also vying to be one of 10 jurisdictions to receive up to $4 million in grants to implement those plans.

The changes would help people who are arrested for crimes for which there is little or no evidence against them who are unable to raise the money needed to post bail. People in that situation sometimes plead guilty to crimes they did not commit in order to be released from jail.

The American Civil Liberties Union says changes are needed because the current bond system, which is meant to ensure that a defendant appears in court, is sometimes used by prosecutors to gain leverage to reach plea deals. The ACLU is encouraging Connecticut to replace most cash bonds with curfews, travel restrictions, or electronic monitoring.

Members of the bail bond industry are opposed to the changes. They believe the current system is working and that some people who have been accused of crimes do pose a danger to the public.

New Jersey amended its constitution in 2014 to eliminate traditional bail for most crimes. Prosecutors can hold some defendants charged with serious crimes without bail if a judge considers them dangerous.

Bail Basics: FAQ’s about Bail in New Jersey

bail questionsIf you don’t know what bail is and how it works, or if you’ve only heard the term on Law & Order or another crime show, it is time to read up on this very important part of the judiciary system. We’ve compiled a few frequently asked questions about the basics of bail in New Jersey:

What is bail?

Bail is a kind of collateral, like money or a bail bond, provided to the court on behalf of a jailed defendant. The judge sets a specific bail amount, and if the set bail is paid, the defendant is granted freedom but must return to court on his or her required dates. If all required court dates are met, then the bail is returned to whoever posted it. It is designed to ensure the defendant appears in court, but if he or she fails to attend required court dates, then the court collects the bail and issues an arrest for the defendant.

How is the bail amount determined?

The judge considers many factors including the criminal history and charges against the defendant when setting a bail amount. Some of the factors are as follows:

  • How serious the charge is
  • The likelihood of conviction
  • The potential sentence if convicted
  • Any criminal history of the defendant
  • The defendant’s connections to the community
  • How dangerous the defendant is
  • If the defendant has missed court dates before

Off of these factors and many others, the judge decides how much the bail will be and how the bail will be paid.

What types of bail are there?

There are many ways bail can be paid and it is up to the judge to decide what type is set for a defendant. Cash only bail is self-explanatory—the full amount must be paid in cash. There is also an option called cash with 10 percent where only 10 percent of bail needs to be posted, but it must be in cash. The other 90 percent doesn’t need to be posted unless the defendant skips his or her court dates.

There is a form of bail release that requires no money or bond, just a promise: When a defendant is “Released on Own Recognizance” they do not have to post money, but they do sign a written promise to appear in court on the scheduled dates.

What if I can’t post my bail?

Bail bonds are an alternative if the defendant is unable to post bail on their own. The defendant pays a non-refundable fee for a licensed bondsman to post a surety bond with the court. Defendants who choose not to hire a bondsman and remain unable to post bail have to stay in jail while the charges go through court.

For respected, professional, and licensed bondsmen in New Jersey, contact Chance BailBonds. We offer bail services throughout the state and have your best interests in mind. Call us today 732-984-4101.

New York City to Ease Bail for Low-Level Offenders

New York Bail Bonds Reform

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration announced new plans for the city’s bail requirements on Wednesday, July 8th. Now low-level or non-violent offenses can be freed by the judge without posting bail. The bail relief is part of a $130 million package that includes many changes to the city’s criminal justice system. The plan comes as a response to the city’s overburdened jail system, dysfunction at Rikers Island, and the story of Kalief Browder.

The Story of Kalief Browder

At the age of 16, Browder was accused of stealing a backpack and held on bail. Unable to post the $3,000, Browder remained trapped in jail for over three years until the charges were dropped in 2013. While detained, Browder was beaten by correction officers and fellow inmates and held in solitary confinement for almost two years at Rikers Island. After his release, Browder struggled to get his life back on track and committed suicide in June of 2015.

“Some people are being detained based on the size of their bank account, not the risk they pose,” said Mayor de Blasio. His hope is to decongest the city’s jail systems and prevent cases like Browder’s.

Mayor de Blasio’s New Plan

In order to make the new bail requirements work, de Blasio’s administration has created a $17.8 million fund judges can access to substitute bail for about 3,000 low-risk defendants. With this new plan, the daily population at Rikers, around 10,000, can be reduced by about 200. About 45,000 defendants are held on bail per year across NYC’s five boroughs. “This is unacceptable,” said the Mayor. “If people can be safely supervised in the community, they should be allowed to remain their regardless of their ability to pay.” Defendants covered by the new plan will still undergo a modern supervision system including daily check-ins, text alerts, and drug counseling to behavior treatment.
The bail relief plan is modeled after a similar plan in Manhattan and Queens, and other cities such as Milwaukee and Portland, Oregon have avoided using money bail. A pilot program started in Queens in 2009, and since then, 87 percent of the defendants returned to court to complete their legal process.
If you or someone you know needs help posting bail, Chance BailBonds is here to help. Our bondsman have your best interest in mind and can help you navigate the ins and outs of the criminal justice system. Call us today at 732-984-4101 for bail bonds anywhere in New Jersey.

RELATED STORY: New Jersey’s Bail Reform: What Happened and What Does It Mean?

How to Avoid Bail Bonds Scams in New Jersey

How to Avoid Bail Bonds ScamsBail bonds services are an absolute necessity in the New Jersey criminal justice system, and the vast majority of bondsmen are reputable, honest operators. But one fact of the matter is that people who need bail bondsmen are often at their most desperate. For this reason there are a number of people who make their living taking advantage of the system.

Bail bonds scams are rare, but not unheard of. If you’re in a position where you think you might be the target of a scammer or illegitimate bail bonds company, keep these tips in mind. They’ll help you avoid predatory bail bonds scams and get the real help you need.

Tips for Avoiding Bail Bonds Scams

  • If a bail bonds company contacts you, something probably isn’t right.

Legitimate bail bondsmen usually don’t solicit business. If you get a call from someone who claims that a friend or loved one is in jail, and needs you to send them bond to secure their release, be suspicious. Ask what jail your loved one is supposedly in, then contact them directly to confirm (there’s a full list of New Jersey jails here). Odds are in a situation like this, the caller is a scammer.

  • If a bail bonds company offers prices too good to be true, they might be.

In the state of New Jersey, bail bondsmen have to charge a 10% of posted bail. If aA check made out to a disreputable New Jersey bonds company. company offers their services for 7%, 5%, or lower, they’re likely not on the level. Often these companies mean that they’re only charging the lower percentage as a cash down payment, expecting the customer to make up the difference with an unfairly financed payment agreement or something similar. It’s not always legal, but it does happen.

  • Always ask about the bond company’s licensing and experience.

Bail bondsmen are required by law to be fully licensed and insured. If a company evades questions about these requirements, claims they aren’t necessary, or sounds unconvincing when they claim to have them, be suspicious. They should be able to present you with their credentials with no problem.

  • Don’t spend a dime until the paperwork’s complete.

Everything should be filled out and signed in black and white before any money is exchanged.  If someone wants you to pay now and deal with the paperwork later, they could be looking to take the money and run.

  • A good bail bonds company should be patient and helpful.

If the bondsman you’re working with is evasive when asked questions about themselves or the bond process, wants to hurry through the job, or anything like that, be on guard. Good bondsmen aren’t just there to take your money and move on to the next case – they’re there to help you and your loved on navigate through the process as painlessly as possible. You’re the customer, and you should be treated with all the respect that entails. If something feels off, assume that it is (good advice for avoiding any scam).

If you want to skip the guesswork and find an honest, reputable bail bonds company in New Jersey, call Chance BailBonds at (732) 984-4101.

Immigration Bail Bonds New Jersey | Fianza de Inmigración NJ

Bail Bonds for Immigration Cases in New JerseyThe United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency is the Federal organization tasked with arresting and detaining illegal aliens and other foreign nationals. If an immigrant is taken into ICE custody for any reason, they or an immigration judge may decide to set a bond amount necessary to secure their release.

If you, a friend, or a loved one ends up in ICE custody in New Jersey and bond is set, get them out of prison by calling Chance BailBonds at (732) 984-4101.

How Much does Bail Bonds Services for Immigration Cost?

This is going to depend on the specific case and what the judge decides to set bail at. Generally, if someone is considered to be a greater flight risk, their bond will be set higher. Typical bond amounts can be anywhere from $500 to $10,000.

How Does Immigration Bonds Work?

You can pay for an immigration bond in one of two ways: with cash, in the full amount paid directly to the government, or with a surety bond. Surety bond entails paying a bail bonds agent a set fee, usually 10%-20% of the total bond.

Cash bond is returned after the detainee has met all their obligations and attended all court hearings. Surety bond is non-refundable however, but may be necessary if you don’t have the full amount of bond.

What are the Different Type of Immigration Bonds?

There are two types of immigration bond. The first is what’s called a “delivery Immigration Bail Bonds New Jerseybond,” and is given in order to ensure that the arrestee shows up for all of their court hearings. Cash bond payments are returned afterwards.

The other type of immigration bond is a “voluntary departure bond.” If an illegal immigrant is taken into custody, they may be released on this kind of bond if they agree to leave the country on their own within a set time frame.

Can Arriving Aliens Get Out in Bail?

Typically arriving aliens are not released on bond. Arriving aliens are defined as: (a) Apprehended at the border seeking admission even if paroled (allowed to enter) into the US; (b) Interdicted and brought into the US even if they are not seeking admission; (c) Returning Lawful Permanent Residents considered to be seeking admission.

Do All Bail Bonds Companies Offer Immigration Bail Bonds?

No. Immigration bonds are considered particularly risky, and therefore many companies refuse to offer them. In New Jersey, Chance BailBonds is one exception to the rule, offering fast, and reliable bail bonds immigration bail bonds services to those in need.

Call Chance BailBonds at (732) 984-4101 for immigration bail bonds services today.

What Happens if You Get a DUI or DWI in New Jersey?

Bail Bonds for DUI in NJ Driving while under the influence of alcohol is an extremely serious crime. Unfortunately for many, it’s also extremely common. In 2007, there were over 25,000 DUI (driving under the influence) arrests in New Jersey alone – and over 250 deaths related to drunk driving. The best advice anyone can offer is simply not to drink and drive, ever.

But that’s not always the way things play out. Maybe you’re just curious, or maybe you or someone you know has just been arrested for DUI. In any case, you’re probably here because you have some questions about DUI law that you want answers to. Here are some of the most common questions people have, answered.

If you or someone you know has been arrested in New Jersey for driving under the influence, get them out now by calling Chance BailBonds at (732) 984-4101

What does it take to get a DUI?

According to the law, it’s illegal to “operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor … or … with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or more by weight of [blood] alcohol.” That means that operating a vehicle and under the influence of alcohol is a distinct crime from doing so with a BAC of .08% or more.

You can be detained for a DUI if a police officer has a reasonable suspicion that alcohol is affection your faculties. You also must submit to a breathalyzer test (you gave your “implied consent” when you got your license). Failure to do so could result in transfer to a hospital where blood will be drawn, and penalties as severe as those given with high BACs.

What are the penalties for driving under the influence?

For a first offense, penalties can be up to 30 days in jail, between $250 to $500 in fines, and a license suspension of 3 months to 1 year.

For a second offense, up to 90 days jail time, between $500 and $1000 dollars in fines, and 2 years suspended license.

For a third offense, someone is looking at up to 180 days in jail, $1,000 in fines, and a license suspension of 10 years.

Refusal to take a chemical test for DUI will result in a 7 month license suspension for the first offense, and a license revocation of 2 years and 10 years respectively for the second and third offenses, in addition to numerous fines and fees.

These are serious crimes!

Can DUI or DWI charges be fought in court?

Sometimes. DUI cases are typically open and shut cases A good defense lawyer can find loopholes in probable An officer making a DUI stop in New Jersey.cause law, or violations of protocol by the arresting and detaining officers than can work in your favor. If the lawyer can prove that the breathalyzer was malfunctioning, cast doubt on the judgement of the arresting officer, or find a similar technicality in your favor, you may have a chance. There’s also a 60-day cap on most DUI cases, which on one hand makes prosecutors and judges extra aggressive, but on the other means that if you case is moving sluggishly a lawyer could appeal to your right to a speedy trial.

You shouldn’t count on it though. Prosecutors are very hesitant to offer plea bargains or alternatives in DUI cases. If you’re arrested for a DUI or DWI, odds are you’re doing to see the full punishment.

What about a plea bargain?

New Jersey law expressly forbids plea bargaining in DUI cases. The only way to reduce or beat the charge is to get off on a technicality.

Can I still drive to work if my license is suspended for a DUI?

Nope. Revocation or suspension of your license is absolute without exception for the entirety of the prescribed length of time.

Does a DUI result in a criminal record?

No. In New Jersey, a DUI is not a felony or misdemeanor, but a motor vehicle violation.

What’s the first step in fighting a DUI charge?

Even if you’ve got the best DUI defense lawyer in the state, the first, most important step in fighting the charge is to get out of jail. The best way to do that in New Jersey is to call Chance BailBonds at (732) 984-4101. We offer bail bonds services for DUI arrests in:

Do You Really Get One Phone Call? 5 Myths About Getting Arrested

Criminal justice is a popular subject in popular culture (think cops and robbers), Myths About Getting Arrestedso most Americans are exposed to a lot more of the Hollywood version of things than the reality. Unfortunately, that means that a lot of people have some misconceptions about how things are if they ever do get arrested. Here are some of the most commonly held misconceptions about getting arrested.

1)      FALSE: Cops have to read you your rights. In just about every movie or TV, when someone gets arrested you can count on hearing, “You have the right to remain silent…” But actually, police don’t have to read you your Miranda Rights when you’re arrested, just before being interrogated. And even if they don’t, all it means is that the prosecutor can’t use what you said in court.

2)      FALSE: Everyone gets one call. Actually, there’s no law on the books that says the police have to give you a phone call when you’re arrested. This varies state by state, and most will at least let you contact a lawyer or bail bonds agent, but the proverbial “one phone call” is just a myth.

3)      FALSE: You should always cooperate with the police. In the movies, cops will tell suspects that if they tell them what they want to hear, they’ll let them off easy. In real life, this is never a good idea. The job of the police is to get people in front of a prosecutor, no more or less, and they’ll do everything in their power to get that to happen. The Fifth Amendment exists for a reason. The best, only thing you should ever say to the cops when you’re getting arrested or questioned is, “I want to speak to a lawyer.”

4)      FALSE: Undercover cops have to identify themselves. There’s an old urban legend that says if you ask an undercover office whether or not they’re, well, an undercover cop, they’re bound by law to tell the truth. This is completely false. If someone asks a cop on an undercover assignment if they’re police, the only answer they’re likely to get is, “no.”

5)      FALSE: If you’re innocent, you don’t have anything to worry about. Again, the primary concern of the police is to get people in front of the prosecutor, whose primary concern is getting people convicted. More often than not, it’s guilty people who end up in jail. But sometimes innocent people do too. That’s why it’s important to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible, avoid incriminating yourself by talking without one, and get out of jail as soon as possible.

If you find yourself on the wrong side of the law, keep all this in mind and go through the experience with a better understanding than a lot of other people. Get in touch with a lawyer, and if you’re anywhere in New Jersey get in touch with Chance BailBonds LLC. We’ll get you out of jail as soon as possible, at any hour of the day or night. Then, you can focus on your defense and staying free.

(732) 984-4101

Is Bail Bonds Information Public in New Jersey?

The bail bonds process can be a complicated one, especially for the person put in the tricky position of having to get someone out of jail. If you ever need to bail someone out of jail, there are a few things you’re probably wondering, and that you should definitely know before you make any final decisions.

Is Bail Bonds Information Public in New Jersey?

First, bail bonds information is available to the public in New Jersey and elsewhere.

Are Bail Bonds Public Records in NJ?

If you’ve paid someone’s bail, you name is probably in there somewhere.

That is, if you pay bail directly to the government in order to secure the release of your friend or family member, the general information about the transaction will be a matter of the court record. Anyone with any reason to look would therefore be able to get the name of the person who filed bail from a local or county clerk’s office.

If you’re uncomfortable with this, or don’t want your name associated with an accused criminal, one solution is to use a licensed bail bonds company, such as Chance BailBonds in Freehold. When a bond company is used, only their name is one the court records for the case. Because the bail bonds company is private, it’s therefore not subject to the same rules or transparency in its transactions as the government. Privacy laws and professional codes of ethics prevent bail bonds companies from disclosing the name of any person posting bond through their services.

What responsibilities will you have if you post bail?

That said, whether you post bail directly or through a bondsman, you are ultimately responsible for the other party. In other words, if they don’t show up for court, you’re responsible. In New Jersey that means you forfeit what you put up for bond. If you used a bail bondsman, you may be responsible for Exterior Storefront of a Bail Bonds Company in New Jersey at Nighttracking that person down, or covering the portion of the bail initially put up by the bond company.

Again, bail bonds can be a complicated and often frightening process. If you need a reputable bail bonds company in the state of New Jersey call Chance BailBonds. Offering bail services across the state, including Trenton, Freehold, Atlantic City, and more, Chance is dedicated to treating you with dignity and keeping you informed every step of the way. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Chance BailBonds

(732) 984-4101

What Happens if Someone Skips Bail in New Jersey?

What happens if someone skips bail?

In the vast majority of instances, criminal defendants released on bail return appear at their court date as scheduled. When this happens, bail is returned to the party who put it up: the defendant, a friend or family member, or in most cases a bail bondsman or bond company.

But what happens if the defendant deliberately misses their court date, or skips bail? In short, it isn’t pretty.

First, the court declares the amount paid for bail is in default, and any money or collateral put up for the defendant’s bail is held by the court. Laws vary, but most states allow a “grace period,” during which time the accused can be turned in to the court, and the bond pulled out of default status. In New Jersey, this grace period is 75 days.

For a bail bond company, this means they have a lot of money on the line. Bond companies put up the complete sum of bail set by the court in exchange for a cash percentage or collateral from the defendant, or someone acting on the defendant’s behalf. If the bail is forfeited to the court, that means they lose it all. For this reason bail bond companies often hire bounty hunters to track down bond skippers and return them to justice. And, of course, the police are usually on the case as well.

What if you put up bail for a friend or family member who doesn’t show up for their court date? When you put up bail to a bond company, you sign a contract and become known as the “indemnitor.” This means that you’ve assumed responsibility to the court, and the bail agent, that your friend or loved one will appear in court. If they willfully skip, you’re legally obligated to pay any additional fees, such as those to hire a bounty hunter, to the bond company. If the defendant can’t be recovered, you will be fully responsible to the bond company for the amount of the original bail.

If you’re wondering whether or not to bail someone out of jail, you should keep all this in mind. Ask yourself honestly, do you trust this person to appear in court? The consequences for them – and you – if they don’t are serious.

If you ever do need a bail bondsman, or help navigating the bonds process in New Jersey, contact Chance BailBonds at (877) 647-5731.