Understanding Bail in New Jersey DUI Cases
Do You Get Bail for DWI Charges in NJ?
Most judicial systems order bail to compel an accused to appear in criminal court for future hearings after arrest. Once arrested, the defendant must post bail or a bond that ensures compliance with court-ordered hearing dates. Posting bail means that a defendant may leave jail on the condition that they appear in court; otherwise, they forfeit the bond amount. However, New Jersey’s bail reform in 2017 effectively ended a pay-for-release bail system. For many DWI defendants, that means a night or two in jail before being released on their own recognizance (ROR) or in some cases, released with certain conditions. And yet, this is not always the case. Some people charged with driving under the influence in New Jersey also face criminal charges and a detention hearing. Even if you get out of jail soon after being arrested for DUI, you still face the harsh penalties of a DWI conviction unless you have a rock solid defense strategy.
Whether you face a DWI or a DUI with criminal charges, an experienced defense lawyer can help to ensure that you get out of jail and defend you against pending charges. You will need an advocate to resist the prosecution’s recommendations for detention and attempts to convict you. The defense attorneys at The Tormey Law Firm have the knowledge, background in DWI law, and unwavering commitment to assist you. Contact us at (201)-556-1570 to discuss your case in a free consultation.
Is there Bail after a DWI Arrest in New Jersey?
Typically, a DWI defendant does not have to post bail. However, pretrial release is not a given for anyone. A defendant gets a pretrial hearing within two days of arrest to determine whether a judge orders detention or release. The court reviews a risk assessment based on several factors to decide whether the defendant goes free pending a trial date, goes free with conditions, or remains in jail. The risk assessment is critical to a DUI defendant’s release, so hiring an experienced DWI defense attorney who understands the risk criteria and how to convince a judge that their client is not a risk to the court process or the public is essential.
How does Bail Work for DUI Charges in New Jersey?
Within 48 hours of an arrest for DUI, the defendant will have a pretrial detention hearing. This is in the vast majority of cases. However, it is important to note that there are aggravating factors in DWI cases that may compel the prosecution to seek detention pending the resolution of the case. A court’s detention decision considers the defendant’s flight risk, the public’s safety, and the judicial system’s integrity. The factors judges consider at pretrial detention hearings are the defendant’s age, any other pending charges, criminal history, prior incarcerations, history of failures to appear, and violence or resisting arrests. Each factor has a point value, depending on how much risk each poses.
For example, a young offender with prior jail sentences who eluded police officers before arrest scores higher points on the risk evaluation and weighs heavily against a DWI offender’s release. On the other hand, a middle-aged offender with no criminal history and long ties with their community scores lower on the risk scale. In essence, a judge does not want to release a defendant who is likely to flee, commit further crimes, or obstruct justice by threatening witnesses or victims. Perhaps police arrested someone who was so drunk they hit another vehicle and then fled to elude the police. That person is more likely to be considered a flight risk and dangerous to the public than someone pulled over for a traffic offense, subsequently charged with a first offense DWI, and has no criminal record. The defendant charged with eluding and leaving the scene of a DWI accident may be released with restrictions or may be held in jail pending the outcome of their trial.
What are the Options Aside from Bail for a DUI?
A judge may release a low-risk defendant on their own recognizance, meaning a defendant leaves jail without conditions. However, a court can impose other conditions on the release, such as mandatory reporting to the court administration, wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet, driving with an ignition interlock device (IID), or an alcohol evaluation. Other conditions may include an order to keep away from witnesses, observe a curfew, commit no further offenses, or drink no alcoholic beverages.
In the worst-case and rare scenarios, a high-risk DWI defendant may have to post bail. When a judge believes no other conditions will assure compliance, they can order a bail hearing to determine the bail amount. That number depends on the severity of the offense and the risk degree. For example, if a DWI led to a fatal accident, the potentially severe prison sentence coupled with a history of failures to appear may require an expensive bond. The defendant pays a percentage of the total amount to a bond company to post it.
If the judge recommends bail, your attorney can present your situation and push for house arrest rather than confinement pending your trial. Additionally, an attorney can supply the court with your financial, employment, familial, and social picture to the judge to help them determine a viable way to keep you out of jail or a bail amount you can pay.
What Circumstances Could Lead to a Detention Hearing in a DWI Case?
When the circumstances of the DWI are dangerous, the prosecuting attorney may request a detention hearing and urge the court to detain the defendant pending trial. Factors that may influence a judge are whether the defendant drove impaired with passengers, especially minor children, in the car. The defendant may face child endangerment criminal charges in addition to a DWI.
Also, a DWI with an injury or fatal accident compels a serious look at releasing the defendant who faces criminal charges for assault by auto or vehicular homicide. Likewise, if the defendant fled the accident scene after hitting someone, they may be facing additional hit-and-run charges. Additionally, other criminal charges may connect to the DWI when law enforcement searches the defendant or their vehicle and finds guns or drugs. The criminal charges begin to multiply for drug and gun possession, which can add years to a likely prison sentence. Depending on the drugs and amount or the weapon the police find, the defendant may face fourth, third, or second degree charges, with a range of 18 months to 10 years in prison.
Held in Jail after a DWI Arrest in NJ? Get Help from Our DUI Attorneys
If the police arrest you for a DWI, call a drunk driving defense attorney at The Tormey Law Firm immediately. You benefit from top-notch representation from the start, especially when a detention hearing requires you to advocate for your unconditional release from jail pending your trial. Our accomplished team of DUI defense lawyers can bring evidence to the judge showing that you are not a flight risk or a danger to the community or the judicial process. Documentary proof of your job, family, friends, and activities in your community supports your argument. Even when a judge determines your risk assessment is concerning, our attorneys can often secure conditions that satisfy the court without disrupting your freedom, if possible.
If you have been released from jail already, our team of DWI attorneys will use all of the tools at their disposal to get you the best solution, as we have done for thousands of clients charged with DUI offenses across the state of New Jersey. Not only do we have the years of experience, but we have attorneys with advanced knowledge of DWI and the fundamental aspects of evidence in drunk and drugged driving cases.
We can help 24/7 after you or someone you love is arrested for DUI. Anytime, day or night, our legal team provides free consultations and is prepared to answer your questions and address your legal needs in a criminal or DWI case. Call (201)-556-1570 to talk to a lawyer now or connect with us online today.