Bail involves depositing money with the court or jail so a detained defendant can be released from jail during the case. The agreement is legally binding, and requires you to return to court for every scheduled court date. It may include other terms such as turning in your passport and no contact with a victim.
If you do not appear in court to face the charges against you, you will forfeit the money and probably face more charges. The New Jersey Constitution gives everyone a right to bail, and it stipulates that bail may not be excessive.
The sole purpose of bail is to ensure defendants appear in person for all scheduled court dates. It is not a punishment for past or future crimes. It is crucial that you are aware of your rights throughout the bail proceedings. A criminal lawyer in Jersey City can help in this regard.
Call the Law Office of Eric M. Mark at 973-453-2009 to begin the process of fighting the charges against you. In the meantime, the judge has the burden of setting a reasonable amount for your bail, and to accomplish this, he or she will consider these eight factors (and others) in setting your bail:
- The seriousness of the alleged crime, the likelihood of a conviction, and the criminal penalties associated with the crime.
- Your previous criminal and bail records.
- The reputation you have within the judicial system and community, as well as your mental condition.
- The length of time you have lived in the community.
- Your relationships and family ties.
- The judge will look at your previous employment history, current employment status, and the condition of your finances.
- If there are any responsible people in your community willing to vouch for your reliability.
- Any other factors that may influence the risk of you not appearing in court may affect your bail amount.
It is important to remember that the judge will first review the seriousness and nature of the crime. In New Jersey, a committee writes the bail schedule, which others use as a guide across the state. It suggests certain bail ranges for specific types of cases. Cases that are more serious in nature typically have higher bail amounts.
A criminal attorney may be able to persuade the judge that the police exaggerated the seriousness of the crime, or that there is very weak evidence against you. If the judge deems the prosecution’s case weak, he or she may consider lowering your bail.
The next factor the judge will look at is your reliability. He or she will want to know if you will appear in court, as promised. If you have a criminal history, it will tell the judge of previous court attendances or warrants for failing to make an appearance.
Your community ties are also a major consideration for the judge. If you are a visitor to the area and plan to fly to Alaska, the judge may consider you a flight risk unlikely to return to court. However, if you have ties to the community, such as a job and family connections, it decreases the risk of you fleeing.
The above-mentioned points will determine how much bail you will pay or if the judge will release you from jail. You should take your freedom seriously and demonstrate trustworthiness during your bail hearing and other formal appearances. The Law Office of Eric M. Mark can assess your case and provide extensive legal counsel and representation. Call 973-453-2009 today to schedule a consultation.