Bail Reduction Motions in the New Jersey Criminal Courts

New Jersey Criminal Lawyers Schwartz Posnock

Often, when a friend or loved one is charged with a serious crime, the bail set by the New Jersey Municipal Court judge (or a Superior Court criminal judge) is beyond the means of the defendant to secure his or her release from jail pending trial.

Bail review hearings are typically conducted in the jail or by closed circuit television from court every week. However, a person charged with an indictable offense in New Jersey should not rely on the bail review hearing for any considerable reduction in bail. This is because there is no experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney in court directly arguing on your behalf. Furthermore, to properly move for a reduction in bail, New Jersey criminal defense lawyers should be prepared to submit supporting documents to the court in advance of the hearing to demonstrate that the defendants is not a flight risk. In New Jersey, the defendant’s return to court is the sole reason why bail is set. While the seriousness of the offense is a factor that courts will consider, in the final analysis, the Superior Court is only supposed to consider the risk of flight in setting bail.

At Schwartz & Posnock, we have achieved bail reductions in felony cases throughout New Jersey for over twenty five years. We are experienced in making bail motions, even in very serious cases where first degree crimes are charged.

As a primer, the bail motion should at very least, discuss the following points:

1. What are the defendant’s prior contacts with the criminal justice system? Note lack of prior arrests and convictions, when applicable.
2. What are the defendant’s ties to the community?
3. Does the defendant work and / or attend school?
4. What family members live in the area?

New Jersey criminal lawyers should be sure to cite the appropriate case law in support of the bail motion: The right to bail is a “fundamental one.” State v. Johnson, 61 N.J. 351, 355 (1972). The right to pre-trial bail is “founded in freedom and human dignity, reflected in the ever present presumption of innocence.” Id., at 360.

The amount of bail must be set in such amount “as in the judgment of the trial court under the circumstances of the case will insure . . . appearance at the trial.” State v. Steele, 430 N.J. Super. 24, 35 (App. Div. 2013), citing Johnson, supra. at 359-360.

As set forth in Steele, supra., “Money bail may not be used to protect the community by preventing release.” 430 N.J. Super. at 35. Indeed, “The sole purpose of monetary conditions is to assure the defendant’s appearance.” Id., at 36, citing State v. Korecky, 169 N.J. 364, 375 (2001). “Monetary conditions should not be set to punish or frighten the defendant, to placate public opinion, or to prevent anticipated criminal conduct.” Korecky, supra., at 376, citing ABA Standards for Criminal Justice, Pretrial Release Standard, 10-5-3(b) (2d ed. 1988).

“Judges are directed to use the bail schedules only as guidelines.” Steele, supra., at 37. They are meant to be advisory in nature, with each case fact sensitive. Id., citing Administrative Directive #9-2005.

The above is only a summary of some of the main points to make in a bail reduction motion. The experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorneys of Schwartz & Posnock can obtain bail reductions for you or your loved ones in the New Jersey Municipal Courts or the New Jersey Superior Courts.

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