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How bail works in New Jersey in 2021

Up until a few years ago, if you were arrested and charged with a serious crime in New Jersey, you generally would have two options: pay a hefty amount of money in bail, or stay in jail until your case is resolved. Not a great choice, but one that many accused individuals never actually got to make. Every year, thousands of New Jersey residents were stuck in jail because they could not afford the bail that a judge imposed on them as a condition for release.

A dramatic change

Then, in 2017, everything changed. The New Jersey Criminal Justice Reform Act went into effect. In almost all cases, the law allowed defendants to be free during the pretrial phase of their case without having to put up cash bail. There are two exceptions, which the prosecutor can try to convince the judge are true:

  • The defendant poses a danger to the community
  • The defendant is a flight risk who may not show up for trial

This generally means that someone charged with a nonviolent white-collar offense, such as fraud or embezzlement, can expect to be released from jail soon after arrest. Not only does this mean you will get to sleep in your own bed again. Because you are free, you can continue to go to work, earning an income and avoiding getting fired because you were behind bars and could not show up. You can help take care of the kids and be there for your spouse. And you will be in a better position to help your attorney prepare your defense strategy.

An arrest is not the same thing as a conviction. Being charged does not mean your ability to work to support your family should be taken away automatically. To begin working on your defense, contact the experienced criminal defense attorney of Law Office of Michael P. McGuire, LLC. Call us at 732-704-7331 to schedule a free consultation.