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What do you need to know about bail in New Jersey?

Hundreds of people are arrested in New Jersey every day. But, most of our readers know that everyone who is arrested for an alleged crime are not forced to sit in jail and await their criminal trial. Most people, almost always including people who are charged with theft crimes, are able to post bail, and they will await their trial on the criminal allegations outside the confines of jail. Just what do our readers need to know about bail in New Jersey?

Well, the first thing to know is that most people are required to post a certain amount of funds with the court, which essentially is a form of guarantee that the person will return to the court on all scheduled dates in order to answer for the charges that have been filed against them. Some people are able to post property also.

All arrestees are supposed to know the details of their bail within 12 hours of being arrested. However, in some cases a court will order an investigation to determine what amount of bail, if any, should be required. These investigations will look into the defendant's financial resources, the person's ties to the community and whether or not the person has any prior criminal record.

A prior criminal record can be crucial when it comes to determining a person's bail. If the criminal defendant has a significant criminal record, the bail that will be required to be posted may be a higher amount. But, if the person has no prior criminal history, there is a chance that the court will release the defendant on their own recognizance. This means that the court releases the person basically just on that person's promise to show up to court as scheduled and to otherwise obey court orders while the criminal case is pending.

Source: New Jersey Courts, "The Criminal Justice Process," Accessed Aug. 23, 2015

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