New Jersey DUI Charges and Bail
The New Jersey resident who was recently charged with five DUIs in five weeks is out on bail. According to authorities, the man elected to pay $20,000 in bail after spending one month in jail.
The man was not in jail for his DUIs but, rather, because he also faced charges for possession of Oxycodone. Under current New Jersey DWI law, a defendant cannot post bail on motor vehicle violations. Driving under the influence is a motor vehicle violation, not a crime.
However, the law might be changing. A bill currently under consideration by the New Jersey Legislature would make any second or subsequent DUI offense within a 60-day period a fourth-degree crime.
The bill would require a court to immediately suspend a DUI defendant’s license and allow the court to impose up to $10,000 in bail. This means that repeat DUI offenders would have to post up to $10,000 in bail to leave custody after their arrest.
What Is Bail?
Bail is an amount of money that a defendant pays to the court to allow him or her to leave custody. By paying bail, the defendant agrees to be present for trial. If the defendant disappears, he or she forfeits the bail.
Bail is also meant to allow for detention of defendants who pose a danger to the community. Typically, the greater the risk, the higher the bail imposed.
Bail is currently not required for traffic offenses such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. However, as we have seen with repeat DUI this legislative session, state laws can change. Defendants may soon be facing custody and bail for repeat DUI offenses.
Source: Associated Press, “NJ Man Charged with Five DUIs Out on Bail,” June 26, 2012.