Bail and Bail Investigations
Bail is required to be set within twelve hours of the issuance of a Complaint. All defendants have a right to bail under our state constitution. If bail is posted, (and there are no other charges pending) defendants are released until the charges listed in the complaint are resolved. Defendants will remain free on bail as long as they meet all of the conditions of bail.
Several types of bails can be posted based on the bail set by the Court. They range from cash bails, property bonds, and surety bonds. Defendants may also be required to give a personal bond, which is a promise to appear or face a judgment, whereby a specified amount of money is forfeited. Some defendants pay a bail bondsman to post funds on their behalf, (these people are private business owners and are NOT part of the Judiciary). If defendants have significant ties to the community, or no criminal history, they may be considered for R.O.R., (Released on Own Recognizance) which is an affidavit certifying that they are aware of the charges levied against them, and will appear in court to face them. An R.O.R. bail is usually only set on minor charges or if a defendant is deemed a low flight risk. If they are released and appear in court as required, bail money may be refunded in full upon case resolution or disposition. Once defendants are released, bail is discharged to the surety.
Some defendants may be ordered to post a higher bail, or have no bail set depending on the severity of the charges and the judge's assessment of the risk to the community. They will remain in jail until the charges are disposed of.
A failure to appear for any court date will result in the issuance of a bench warrant for the defendant and an immediate forfeiture of the sureties, bail money or property posted. The bail will be discharged in full upon the completion on the entire case. The defendant must have made all of the court dates for this discharge to take place.
Bail investigations may be ordered by a Superior Court judge of the Criminal Division. Criminal Division bail investigators or a case supervisor to collect information on the defendant's ties or standing in the community. Identifying information is collected including; the names, addresses, dates of birth, employment, criminal record, mental health and drug abuse history of the defendant.
These investigations are conducted by professionals working for the court. They investigate and report on a defendant's amenability to bail or bail supervision. Bail investigation reports consider the seriousness of the offense and the severity of punishment upon conviction, as well as the defendant's family ties and financial status. All of these factors are considered in light of the probability that the defendant will appear for trial or other court events. Case supervisors or bail investigators report to the judge, who hears evidence from the defense and prosecution and decides the amount and form of bail to be set, if any.