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New Jersey Bail Reform Rules Tightened Just Months After New System Introduced

Only a few months ago, New Jersey enacted one of the most sweeping bail system reforms in the country. Under the new system, judges use a rubric to evaluate certain risks related to releasing defendants before trial. The goal of the system was to prevent low-risk defendants from sitting in jail before trial for no better reason than because they couldn’t afford cash bail. Now, the state Attorney General has released new guidelines for state prosecutors detailing conditions that should push prosecutors to seek to detain these defendants. Under the amended rules, prosecutors will be more likely to push for a defendant to stay in jail if the charges against that person include a sex offense or use of a gun. Prosecutors may also be more likely to seek detention if the person is considered a threat to public safety based on a prior criminal history, or if the person is charged with a crime while on probation, parole, or pre-trial release. The new rules come after the New Jersey Legislature sought last month to add unlawful possession of a gun to the types of charges that could land a person in jail before trial, instead of being released. The new rules push prosecutors to be more aggressive in seeking detention in these situations as well. Judges in each case will still have the final say whether or not a person facing criminal charges may go home before trial, or must sit in jail. Because a person charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty, judges must carefully weigh any risks to the community against the risk of infringing on the charged person’s rights. If you’ve been charged with a crime, you have certain rights—and you deserve the help of an experienced Trenton criminal defense lawyer to help you defend those rights and fight for the best possible outcome in your case. Contact a Trenton criminal defense lawyer today.

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