Earlier this year, the bail system was reformed in New Jersey to change from a cash-based bail system to keep low-income people who are suspected of low-level and nonviolent offenses from remaining in jail because they can’t afford bail. However, now law enforcement has complained that certain people may be released from jail who go on to commit subsequent crimes and who present a danger to the community.
Whether or not these concerns are based in fact, the Attorney General of New Jersey has responded by asking that the criminal courts add certain offenses to the list that will require a defendant to remain behind bars. The AG wrote a letter directly to the courts to request the change instead of trying to make changes through the legislature. The categories of crimes the AG’s office wants to have added to the list include:
- Firearms offenses
- 2nd-degree eluding
- Offenses committed while on parole, probation, or pretrial release
Not everyone who is released to wait for their trial is able to roam freely through the community without supervision. Instead, Pretrial Services can require various levels of monitoring of defendants, as well as impose conditions of their release based on the circumstances of their crimes.
The Attorney General’s office and prosecutors are asserting that such monitoring is not good enough for defendants charged with unlawful gun possession – even if they did not use the weapon in the commission of a crime. Instead, they are suggesting that anyone accused of gun possession should be automatically held in jail until their trial, which could be months.
Because the bail reforms are relatively new, many people have criticized the recent requests for a few reasons. First, opponents are wondering why prosecutors and the AG’s office did not request such offenses to included in the list initially. Furthermore, since the system has only been recently implemented, it is questionable what type of adverse results or threats to the community have been witnessed in the past few weeks that led to this request.
Either way, the pretrial bail reforms have made certain criminal cases more complex in New Jersey. It is essential to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer representing you who can protect your rights during the pretrial process and keep you out of jail whenever possible.
Call 732-662-7658 today for a free consultation.
At the Law Offices of Leon Matchin, we represent people in New Jersey accused of a wide array of offenses, from traffic tickets to violent crimes. If you have been arrested, do not wait to contact our experienced criminal defense attorney for help.