Detention Hearing Process in Essex County Domestic Violence Cases
Defense Lawyers Handling Detention Hearings For Domestic Violence in Newark, New Jersey
Through the Criminal Justice Reform Act in 2017, New Jersey revamped the bail system to encourage a speedier trial. Because legislators saw the monetary system of bail as discriminatory, the decision to grant the offenders release or detain them until trial is not dependent on their ability to make bail. Potentially dangerous criminals with big bankrolls charged with non-capital crimes were able to bail out without any problem. At the same time, offenders with limited resources stayed in jail until their trial simply because they were unable to pay their bail. This system aims to level the playing field for offenders, keep dangerous offenders in jail until trial, and significantly reduce the prison population, thereby saving the taxpayers’ hard-earned money.
The New Jersey reform law exchanges bail for a risk-based approach. The state must file a complaint warrant as opposed to a complaint summons. The difference lies in the severity of the charge(s). A warrant complaint indicates serious charges that could lead to heavy fines and a substantial jail term. A summons complaint is given for less grave crimes, and the offender is not considered a menace to the community.
If you have questions or concerns related to domestic violence cases, it is crucial to seek immediate guidance from an experienced attorney. Understanding the criminal and restraining order processes is key to effectively handling your situation. If you are facing domestic violence charges in New Jersey, the consequences are severe, potentially resulting in a permanent criminal record and jail time. To address these challenges and questions regarding the detention hearing process in Essex County and get help with your defense against domestic violence accusations in Belleville, Bloomfield, Montclair, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, West Orange, or another nearby town in NJ, contact us to speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney by calling 201-654-3464 or filling out the online contact form to set up a free consultation with a member of our legal team.
Examining Mandatory Arrests in New Jersey’s Domestic Violence Cases
The Act applies to everyone arrested, including those taken into custody under the mandatory arrest rule in the Domestic Violence Act of New Jersey. If the victim shows injuries probably sustained from acts of domestic violence, if a no-contact order has been breached, if there is an open warrant, or if there is probable cause that a weapon was used in an act of domestic violence, police officers must arrest the suspect. The Attorney General uses guidelines to assign a summons complaint or a warrant complaint. Domestic violence cases require a defendant to be charged on a complaint-warrant. A defendant who was mandatorily arrested will likely be detained and have a hearing to determine whether they will stay in custody until trial.
Process of Booking and Detention Following Domestic Violence Arrests
When someone is arrested or charged with domestic violence, they will be taken by the police to be booked and fingerprinted at the nearest police station, where they will be placed in a holding cell for a maximum of 48 hours until the detention hearing is held.
Understanding Detention Hearings in the Context of Domestic Violence Accusations
After being arrested for domestic violence, the accused has the right to a detention hearing within 48 hours of their arrest. The hearing determines whether the accused will be released on their recognizance, released under certain conditions placed by the court, or stay in custody until trial. The complaint made by the victim serves as the foundation for a protective order. If the defendant is denied release, their case must go to trial within 180 days. When the prosecutor wants the defendant to stay in custody, a motion for detention has to be filed.
The Nine Factors of a Pubic Safety Assessment (PSA)
Instead of automatically assigning a bail amount or remanding the defendant immediately to custody, the probation department will do a PSA (Public Safety Assessment), which is a series of factors that determine if the defendant is a flight risk or a danger to the community while awaiting trial.
There are nine variables in the PSA. A staff member from Pretrial Services will interview the defendant and enter all of the pertinent information into a program that, with an algorithm, determines the risk score for the defendant. The rating system goes from 1 (low likelihood of risk) to 6 (high probability of risk). There are two kinds of risk: reoffending or not appearing at trial.
The factors used to determine the level of risk for the defendant are age, the level of violence of the current offense, pending charges, failures to appear in the last two years and failures to appear more than two years ago, prior violent crime convictions, any indictable convictions, previous disorderly persons convictions, and prior jail sentences more than 14 days.
Possible Results of Detention Hearings in Domestic Violence Cases
The PSA is a tool; a judge is not obligated to base their decision solely on the given score. Often, there is a presumption that the defendant should be released unless the crime they are charged with carries a life sentence. Also, if the defendant has two or more charges pending, a new charge for a violent crime with a previous conviction for a violent offense, or the new charge is a violent crime or a weapons charge, they are not likely to be released before trial.
A judge has several options at their disposal when allowing a defendant to be released pending trial. There is the ROR (Released On Recognizance), which has no limitations of any kind. Level I requires reporting by telephone once a month. Level II requires an in-person visit and reporting by phone once a month. Level III requires reporting every week in person and by phone in an alternating pattern. Level III Plus has the same requirements as the previous level, with the addition of a GPS tether (electric monitoring). In levels II through III Plus, the judge may also order random drug or alcohol testing if there is evidence that dependency is an issue.
Functioning and Benefits of House Arrest in NJ
House arrest requires the defendant to be confined in their domicile and are allowed to leave for work or for medical reasons. They wear a GPS tether to show when they are not where they should be. House arrest is viewed positively because it is cost-effective and meets the social and economic needs of the offender. If followed to the letter, it could be included as a post-trial sentence.
Trusted Advocacy for Essex NJ Detention Hearings
Being charged with a serious offense is stressful and scary. Suddenly, you are in jail and awaiting a hearing to determine whether you will spend the next several weeks incarcerated until your trial. It takes the expertise of a domestic violence lawyer to afford you the absolute best representation. The consequences of your situation could leave you with a criminal record, losing your firearms rights, and spending years in jail. We have worked with hundreds of clients and have provided them with excellent representation at detention hearings for domestic violence, as well as in restraining order matters in Livingston, Millburn, Roseland, Verona, Maplewood, Nutley, West Caldwell, and other towns in the greater Essex County area. You are in safe hands when we represent you.
Contact us today to get started on your defense. Call us at 201-654-3464 for a confidential free consultation.