Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Represents Clients at Atlantic County Bail Hearings
Jail can be a frightening place, and you should not have to be there one minute longer than absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, all too often, NJ municipal court and superior court judges set bail too high. As a result, many defendants are unable to post bail and secure their release from jail before trial. If you’ve been arrested for a crime in the State of New Jersey, let an experienced attorney protect your legal right to a bail hearing.
John Tumelty, founding partner of the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty, is an experienced criminal defense attorney who can ensure that your bail is set at a fair and affordable amount. Mr. Tumelty previously served as both a state prosecutor and a county prosecutor, so he has unique insight into how the New Jersey criminal justice system works. Now he regularly appears in courtrooms throughout Cape May County and Atlantic County, assisting clients at all stages of the legal process.
How are Bail Amounts Determined?
“Bail” refers to the cash (or cash equivalent) that a person who has been arrested gives to the court as collateral in order to get released from custody. The bail amount functions as an incentive for the defendant to appear in court at a later date.
Bail is commonly set by judges in serious criminal cases, including:
- Casino crimes
- Domestic violence
- Drunk driving violations
- Juvenile defense
- Sex crimes
- Weapons offenses
- Traffic violations
Judges have a great amount of latitude when determining a proper bail amount. Judges often look to the New Jersey Bail Schedule, a state guideline for setting bail. However, judges do not have to follow the guidelines. When setting bail and considering whether a defendant poses a flight risk or a serious threat to the community, judges also consider several factors outlined in the NJ criminal code under N.J.S.A. 3:26-1A:
- Severity of the criminal offense: The more serious your criminal charges, the higher your bail will likely be
- Flight risk: If the court believes you will leave the area and not return for your day in court, bail will be set high or no bail will be set in your case
- Likelihood of conviction
- Prior criminal arrests and convictions: The judge can consider any previous criminal charges and conviction on your record
- Defendant’s mental state
- Defendant’s ties to the community
- Defendant’s employment status: Proof of stable employment is a factor to be considered by the court when determining a bail amount
- Defendant’s financial resources
For many minor offenses, the court may waive the payment of bail by issuing an R.O.R., otherwise known as “release on one’s own recognizance.” For fourth degree felonies and disorderly persons offenses, bail is typically capped at $2,500 unless the defendant poses a grave threat to others in the community or poses a serious threat of destroying evidence. However, for violent crimes like murder and sexual assault, a superior court judge may determine that bail is not an option.
What are the Options When Bail is Set?
If the judge sets a bail amount in your case, you might have all, many or one of the following options for posting bail:
- Full cash bail: Unless the court offers a 10-percent option, the defendant will be required to post the entire bail amount.
- 10 percent bail option: In many cases, a defendant has the option to put up 10 percent of the total bail amount.
- Property bail: A defendant can potentially put up their home or other property as collateral for bail.
- Bail bonds: A bail bond is basically a check posted by a bond seller. Although it might seem like a good idea to pay a bail bondsman, hiring a lawyer is often a better choice because it will cost you less money.
What Can an Attorney Do for You at a Bail Hearing?
The purpose of bail is to ensure that an accused person shows up for their scheduled court dates. For this reason, a judge cannot set bail excessively high. If bail has already been set in your case and is too high, a knowledgeable lawyer may take quick action to get the bail reduced. Once a bail reduction motion has been filed, a hearing must be held within seven days. When you hire John Tumelty, he will have an opportunity at the bail reduction hearing to argue that you do not pose a flight risk and that the initial bail amount should be reduced.
South Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney Protects Clients’ Rights and Fights for Bail Reduction Motions
If your loved one has been arrested and is being held in custody in Atlantic City or anywhere in South Jersey, it is imperative that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible so that you can secure their release from jail.
John Tumelty is a South Jersey criminal defense lawyer who knows the system and understands the criminal justice process. Mr. Tumelty also knows how to negotiate with the prosecutor in your case to get consent for a lower bail amount. If you’ve been arrested for a criminal offense and need to make bail, call or email Mr. Tumelty to schedule a free consultation at one of his office locations in Somers Point and Marmora. He will be happy to speak with you and answer any questions you might have about how bail amounts are typically set in New Jersey.