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New law may help some stay out of jail

People in New Jersey might be pleased that a new year has finally begun. No matter the circumstances, it seems that people all over often seek a fresh start. This may be due to financial problems, relationship challenges or even legal issues. For those in New Jersey who find themselves facing criminal charges, this new year might be a bit more positive than last year.

In 2014, the New Jersey Governor signed into law a new bill relating to bail for some defendants. The bill just took effect as of Jan. 1, 2017. One of the provisions of this new law is that people who are accused of crimes that are considered not violent need not pay bail in order to be released from jail. Bail costs can be so high that many people are unable to pay it. This results in a lot of people staying in jail simply due to the lack of financial resources, not really because they should be there.

Some have said that the bail system forced many low-income people to be kept in jail unfairly. Going forward, when people are required to stay in jail, there are new requirements for moving their cases along more efficiently. Indictments must be done within 90 days and trials commenced within 120 days.

Defendants might want to talk with a lawyer after being arrested. This can often provide insight into how the laws change and what those changes may mean to them.

Source: NJ.com, "Here's how 8 N.J. laws taking effect Jan. 1 might affect you," Susan K.Livio,  Jan. 1, 2017

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