On the Ballot – NJ Criminal Defense Attorneys Fight for Bail

A proposed amendment to the New Jersey Constitution will be decided Tuesday on the Election Day ballot. The amendment would give judges in New Jersey the power to deny bail, or pre-trial releases of defendants who are considered dangerous or deemed a threat to flee from the state or to obstruct justice. This change to the constitution would affect the way bail is set by the state and reduce the rights of defendants awaiting trial for criminal charges. If passed, the NJ bail reform Amendment would be enacted in 2017.

How NJ Bail Currently Works

Whether you have a NJ criminal defense attorney or are representing yourself, bail must be set within 12 hours of being charged with a crime. Depending on the crime, bail will be set within a standardized range according to the New Jersey Bail Schedule. The exact amount will be based on type of crime, ties to community and estimated flight risk, among others. Regardless, bail may be set within these parameters at the discretion of the judge. The only way to effectively fight an unjustly high bail amount in New Jersey, is with the help of your criminal defense lawyer.

For the most part, defendants that do not post bail (or cannot afford to post bail), will remain in jail until a trial occurs. One exception stems from a bill signed into law in August, which allows low-income defendants to post bail through non-monetary methods in order to avoid incarceration while waiting for their cases to go to trial.

What the Amendment Means for NJ Defendants

According to the proposed NJ Amendment, if you have been charged with a crime in New Jersey, a judge would have the power to deny bail. If the judge deemed the defendant “too dangerous”, he would be legally justified to refuse bail.

The Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers has called the proposed amendment “a complete abrogation of the constitutional right to bail that New Jersey’s had in the constitution since it was created.” If passed, the only way to protect yourself from potentially being denied bail for dangerous crimes could be with the assistance of a qualified NJ defense attorney.

Experienced NJ Criminal Defense Attorneys

Laws in New Jersey frequently change, directly affecting your rights as a defendant. You need a criminal defense law firm that has the ability to keep up and adapt to these changes, while providing the strongest defense possible. The NJ defense lawyers at Villani & DeLuca have experience representing clients charged with crimes in the state and will work to secure bail regardless of potential amendment changes.

Your constitutional rights need to be protected. Contact us today for a free consultation if you have been charged with a crime in New Jersey.