If 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.