When a person is accused of a crime in New Jersey and is arrested, a judge will set bail in most cases. Bail is either money or another form of assurance, such as a bond, that is designed to make certain the person will appear for all of his or her hearings. Upon the resolution of the defendant's case, the court returns the posted money to the person who submitted it in the case.
When determining whether to set bail, the judge will consider a number of factors in determining the type of bail to set and its amount. The court considers the criminal record of the defendant, the likelihood that a subsequent trial will result in conviction, the seriousness of the charged offense, prior history of failing to appear in court and the defendant's ties to his or her community, among other factors.
Bail may be set as a cash-only amount, which means a person posting it would need to post the entire amount in order to secure the defendant's release from custody pending his or her case. If a 10 percent option is allowed, the person will need to post 10 percent of the bail amount, but may be responsible for the entire balance in the event of a failure to come back to court. Judges may also release people on their own recognizance, which means that they do not have to post any money in order to secure their release.
Property bonds are those which allow a release with a property lien, while a bail bond is when a bondsman posts bond on behalf of the individual in exchange for a fee. If a bond is initially set too high, defendants may wish to seek the help of a criminal defense attorney to try to get the amount reduced.
Source: New Jersey Judiciary , "Frequently Asked Questions About Superior Court Bail ", December 19, 2014