Directives Issued Regarding Municipal Court Bench Warrants
On Wednesday, May 25, New Jersey’s Acting Attorney General, Matthew Platkin, issued Law Enforcement Directive NO. 2022-6. The Directive instructs law enforcement agencies, including municipal agencies, to no longer, in most instances, subject individuals encountered with municipal court bench warrants with bail amounts of $500 or less to custodial arrest. Instead, such individuals will now be given notice of a new court date and released at scene.
The Attorney General Directive was issued in conjunction with Directive #04-22 from the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC), establishing a uniform, statewide process for the handling of individuals with outstanding municipal court bench warrants. AOC Directive #04-22 requires, effective immediately, all defendants, except those charged with a domestic violence offense, subject to a municipal court bench warrant with a bail amount set at $500 or less who are unable to post bail, or any portion of the bail to be either released on such bail that can be posted or released on their own recognizance.
When doing so the defendant must provide updated contact information, be issued a new date for the court appearance, and be advised of the consequences for failing to appear.
The AOC Directive also provides that all defendants arrested and placed in jail on municipal court bench warrants who are unable to promptly post bail are entitled to a bail review hearing within 48 hours, excluding weekends and holidays. The hearing shall be before the issuing municipal court, before a judge presiding over the Central Judicial Processing court, or before another judge authorized to review the bail amount.
Both the AG and AOC Directives should be reviewed with your chief of police, municipal court, and other relevant personnel.
Contact: Frank Marshall, Esq., Associate General Counsel, firstname.lastname@example.org, 609-695-3481, x137.