Bail Court Appearances in Morristown NJ
When you are arrested and accused of a crime, the State of New Jersey cannot always hold you while you await trial. Instead, the State must prove that you should be detained while your case progresses. This additional step helps keep people out of jail and decreases the strain on New Jersey’s jail system. Determining whether you should be detained takes place at a detention hearing.
Only those who are the subject of a warrant on indictment, are charged with an indictable offense, or charged with a disorderly persons offense involving domestic violence can be detained under New Jersey law. However, even if you meet one or more of these qualifications, the State must also prove some additional facts at a detention hearing in order for you to be held in jail until your case is resolved. If you have been arrested and have an upcoming court appearance for bail in Morris County, New Jersey, you need to know what happens next. Continue reading for more information about detention hearings in Morristown and contact an experienced Morris County criminal defense attorney to discuss your case.
The Purpose of Detention Hearings in New Jersey
Detention hearings are are now used instead of automatically requiring that a defendant post bail to stay out of jail. By getting rid of monetary bail requirements, the New Jersey court system no longer rewards people who can pay for their bail, but who also might be dangerous or more likely to not appear at later hearings. It also allows people who cannot afford bail to be released if detaining them is not appropriate.
Applying new rules to the process of detention hearings was part of a huge change to NJ law that occurred in 2014, which involved a constitutional amendment that is commonly referred to as New Jersey Bail Reform. Despite the changes in the NJ bail system, there are still some cases where bail is ordered.
What Occurs at a Bail Hearing in Morristown?
A detention hearing is forum to present evidence, which is then used by a judge to decide if a criminal defendant should be detained while he or she awaits trial. Both the prosecution and the defense are allowed to present evidence and arguments as to why a defendant should or should not be detained.
Typically, person charged with a criminal offense will be released on a summons and given a court date for their first appearance. However, defendants who fulfill the criteria listed above must be held and appear before a judge before being released. This is usually their first appearance. Notably, a detention hearing will only held if a prosecutor requests it with a “motion for detention.” This motion will generally be submitted prior to the defendant’s first appearance and the hearing must take place within three days of the prosecutor’s request (unless a continuance is warranted under certain limited circumstances).
How Does a Judge Make a Bail Decision in NJ?
The judge at a detention hearing is faced with the following determination: whether a defendant is likely to fail to appear at later hearings or trial, to threaten public safety, or to otherwise obstruct the criminal justice process. As part of this analysis, the judge will consider all of the evidence presented by both sides. They will also consider the result of a Public Safety Assessment (“PSA”) and a Decision Making Framework (“DMF”), both of which are designed to provide more consistent decisions from judges regarding whether to detain a criminal defendant.
The PSA will depend on the unique facts of the case, such as the charges involved, whether the defendant has any prior convictions, whether he or she has had any other instances in which they failed to appear, and the age of the defendant. If the charge is for a violent crime, for example, detention is more likely to be warranted based on the PSA and DMF.
Every case is different, but the judge will review very specific factors to determine whether detention is a good idea. If the judge decides that detention is appropriate, then the defendant will remain in jail until their trial, they take a plea, their case is dismissed in pre-trial motions, or the case is otherwise resolved through enrollment in a diversionary program or another alternative outcome.
Do I Need a Lawyer to get out on Bail in Morris County?
If you or a loved one has a detention hearing scheduled in Morris County, NJ, you need to arrange for competent legal representation at court and throughout this process. Bail determinations are very difficult to change once they have been made, which is why you need the best defense during your detention hearing. Our seasoned criminal defense lawyers in Morristown have successfully assisted clients at detention hearings in Morris County and across New Jersey. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you or your loved one today.