Detention Hearings in New Jersey
On January 1, 2017, the Bail Reform Act went into effect in the state of New Jersey. Before this Act was effective, judges were required to set bail for anyone to be detained. According to a 2013 study, the average defendant was waiting 314 days in jail for a trial after their indictment. The Act forced prosecutors to indict within 90 days and schedule a trial within 180 days.
According to the new pretrial detention rules, judges are also required to determine whether a defendant will be released from jail within 48 hours (at the defendant’s initial appearance). The actual goal for most of the state is within 24 hours, cutting down total detention time significantly. New Jersey is, for the most part, meeting the new Bail Act’s time frame in deciding whether you should be released or kept in jail. In general, the courts have made decisions for 81.3% of people in jail within 24 hours of them being arrested, and 99.5% within 48 hours.
What is a Detention Hearing for?
To decide whether you will continue to be detained before your trial or released, the judge will hold a detention hearing. This applies in cases involving indictable crimes (first, second, third, and fourth degree) and disorderly persons offenses involving domestic violence. Some common examples of criminal charges that require a detention hearing include:
- Aggravated Assault
- Terroristic Threats
- Domestic violence simple assault
- Drug distribution: heroin, cocaine, marijuana, prescription drugs
Before Your Detention Hearing in New Jersey
Before your detention hearing, the court will perform a Public Safety Assessment (PSA) to determine your risk factor. The PSA will look at different information regarding your criminal case. These factors answer the following questions.
- Does your current criminal case involve a violent offense?
- Do you have any previous convictions?
- What is your age?
- Have you failed to appear in court in previous matters?
The results of your PSA will be weighed by the judge who determines whether you should be held or released before your trial.
What Happens at a Detention Hearing?
The New Jersey Constitution says that you are eligible for release on bail pending your trial, unless, at your Detention Hearing, the court rules that no amount of bail money, and/or non-monetary conditions will guarantee you will appear in court when you are required to do so. In addition, the court may also determine that you must be detained because they conclude that the safety of people in the community is at risk or that you may attempt to obstruct the criminal proceedings in your individual criminal case.
The New Jersey court will consider your Public Safety Assessment and the arguments that your attorney and the prosecutor make in making this decision. Keep in mind that you can have a criminal defense attorney represent you at your detention hearing. Our lawyers understand how vital detention hearings can be for you and your family, and we will stand by your side to ensure your rights are protected.
Possible Outcomes of an NJ Detention Hearing
The judge could release you if you meet one of the following conditions:
- You will appear in court when required to do so.
- You are not a danger to anyone in the community.
- You will not try to obstruct or obstruct justice.
- You will obey all the conditions of your release as set by the court.
The judge could also choose to release you with conditions. These conditions could include things like:
- Commit no illegal acts while released
- Have no contact with any witnesses or victims who could testify at your trial
- Decline to leave a certain geographical area
Detention Hearing Attorneys in Sussex & Warren County, NJ
If you or a loved one has been arrested in New Jersey and is facing a detention hearing, it is crucial to have an experienced criminal defense attorney arguing aggressively for your release. The attorneys at The Tormey Law Firm will protect your rights during these proceedings and do all we can to demonstrate your reliability and the lack of risk you pose to community. We have successfully defended numerous clients at detention hearings throughout New Jersey, including in Warren County and Sussex County. Call 973-755-1695 to find out how we can help you during a free consultation.