Pretrial Detention and the N.J. Bail Reform Act

Under what circumstances may the prosecutor file for pretrial detention?

New Jersey, Atlantic County, Bergen County, Burlington County, Camden County, Cape May County, Cumberland County, Essex County, Gloucester County, Hudson County, Hunterdon County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Morris County, Ocean County, Passaic County, Salem County, Somerset County, Sussex County, Union County, Warren County, criminal defense, drunk driving, traffic ticket, juvenile, attorney, lawyerThe State may file for the pretrial detention of an eligible defendant charged for any crime or offense:1

  1. of the first or second degree enumerated under subsection d. of section 2 of N.J.S.A. 2c:43-7.2
  2. that subjects the eligible defendant to an ordinary or extended term of life imprisonment;
  3. if the eligible defendant’s criminal history reflects convictions for two or more offenses for either of the above categories;
  4. enumerated under paragraph (2) of subsection b. of section 2 of N.J.S.A. 2c:7-2 or crime involving human trafficking pursuant to section 1 of N.J.S.A. 2c:13-8 or N.J.S.A. 52:17B-237 et al. when the victim is a minor, or the crime of endangering the welfare of a child under N.J.S.A. 2c:24-4;
  5. enumerated under subsection c. of N.J.S.A. 2c:43-6;
  6. involving domestic violence as defined in subsection a. of section 3 of N.J.S.A. 2c:25-19; or
  7. for which the prosecutor believes there is a serious risk that:
    1. the eligible defendant will not appear in court as required;
    2. the eligible defendant will pose a danger to any other person or the community; or
    3. the eligible defendant will obstruct or attempt to obstruct justice, or threaten, injure, or intimidate, or attempt to threaten, injure or intimidate, a prospective witness or juror.

When may the prosecutor file for pretrial detention?

The State may file for the pretrial detention of an eligible defendant at any time. Therefore, the law does not restrict the prosecutor from filing for pretrial detention based on the time he chooses to file.

What happens to the defendant between filing the pretrial detention motion and the hearing?

After the Prosecutor files for pretrial detention, and during any continuance the court may grant, the law requires the State to lock up the eligible defendant. But if the court had previously released the eligible defendant from pretrial custody, then the court must issue a notice to appear to compel the appearance of the eligible defendant at the detention hearing.3

At the hearing, the law requires the prosecutor to do more than make a case to justify pretrial detention. Indeed, if the prosecutor has failed to indict the defendant, then the prosecutor must establish probable cause that the eligible defendant committed the predicate offense.2

With some limited exceptions, the court’s decision to order pretrial detention must be supported by clear and convincing evidence.4 Nevertheless, the court may reopen the hearing at any time if new and material evidence is discovered.5

Gloucester County New Jersey Criminal Lawyer Michael Smolensky, Esquire, knows how to protect his clients. Mr. Smolensky can provide consultations for all cases involving pretrial detention hearings. Call Now—(856) 812-0321.


1 N.J.S.A. 2A:162-19(a)
2 N.J.S.A. 2A:162-19(e)(2)
3 N.J.S.A. 2A:162-19(d)(2)
4N.J.S.A. 2A:162-19(e)(3)
5 N.J.S.A. 2A:162-19(f)