Burlington County, NJ Law Blog

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Reforming the Bail System in New Jersey and Nationwide

How is bail set in New Jersey?

Across the nation, hundreds of thousands of individuals are sitting in jail awaiting trial because they are unable to make bail.  They may wait in jail for months for even minor charges, while those charged with more serious offense could wait for far longer.  Jurisdictions across the country are beginning to take notice of the detrimental effects of the traditional bail system.  Reforms are being implemented in many areas, including New Jersey.

Traditional Bail May Discriminate Against the Poor

Supporters of bail reform urge that the current bail system leaves poorer individuals in jail, while those with more access to funds and property go free—regardless of whether they are charged with the same offense.  It is not uncommon for judges to set bail based just on the alleged crime, without regard for an individual’s financial situation. 

The purpose of bail is to ensure the defendant’s appearance in court using the least restrictive means possible.  It seems that this central message has been lost along the way for judges in some areas.  It is illegal for a judge to purposefully assign a high bail as a way to keep someone in jail, yet this practice is committed daily. 

Risk Assessments

New Jersey is one of several states to adopt a risk assessment program.  To assess an individual’s flight risk, a computer program pulls up a defendant’s criminal records, current charges, and age.  The computer program takes some of the room for variation out of the bail equation, but many have reservations about the program and caution judges must remember to use their judgment. 

Setting Bail in New Jersey

If you have been charged with a crime in New Jersey, you will appear in court for a bail hearing.  At the hearing, the judge will review several factors, including:

  • The seriousness of the crime you are charged with;
  • Whether you have a criminal record;
  • How long you have lived in the area;
  • Your past bail obligations and whether you fulfilled bail conditions;
  • Whether you have a job; and
  • Your financial situation, among other factors.

Your New Jersey criminal defense attorney will help to ensure your bail amount is reasonable and constitutional.  

Archived Posts


Criminal Defense News

Hiring an attorney is an important decision which should not be based solely on advertising. The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

Please call the office at (609) 267-1101 to schedule a free consultation to discuss the specifics of your matter. Same day consultations are available. We are available for detention hearings in every county in South Jersey. Detention hearings are normally scheduled with in forty-eight (48) hours of an arrest that resulted in immediate incarceration.

We handle every type of criminal and traffic offense in the Federal Court, the Magistrate Court (military matters); the State Courts (superior court), the Municipal Courts located in townships, cities and boroughs within the counties of Burlington, Camden, Ocean, Gloucester, Atlantic, Cumberland, Salem, Cape May, and Mercer.

© 2020 Sitzler and Sitzler | Attorney Advertising
1487 State Highway 38 West, Hainesport, NJ 08036
| Phone: 609-267-1101

Criminal Defense Overview | Theft | White Collar Crimes | DWI/DUI Defense | Felonies/Indictable Charges | Homicide | Misdemeanor/Disorderly Person | Traffic Violations | Criminal Sexual Contact | Violent Crimes | Drug Crimes | Expungement | Domestic Violence | Juvenile Matters | Weapons Offenses | Federal Cases | MVC Points/ Driver License Violations | Probation and Parole Violations | Multiple DUI/DWI Offenses | Megan's Law | Assault and Battery | Burglary | Appellate Law | Guns and Weapons Charges | CJP Hearing | Criminal Defense | About Us | Other Services | En Espanol

FacebookGoogle+TwitterLinked-In Company

Law Firm Website Design by
Zola Creative