Post bail or let son stay in jail until court date.

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Post bail or let son stay in jail until court date.

My son is in county jail for strong armed robbery. Using a public defender, should I let him stay in jail until court or does it look better if he is out on bail. Are public defenders a good choice?

Asked on June 24, 2009 under Criminal Law, New Jersey


Martin Matlaga / Martin D. Matlaga, Esq., LLC

Answered 14 years ago | Contributor

Someone accused of a crime who remains in jail between his arraignment and the final outcome of

his case is more likely to receive a criminal conviction or jail sentence than someone who has been

free on bail. The correlation between the pretrial status (jail or bail) and the severity of the

sentence after conviction has been called "extraordinary," the individual in jail being two or three

times more likely to receive a prison sentence. Also, it's far easier for someone out of jail to help

his lawyer prepare the case. Insofar as public defenders are concerned, they are no different than

the lawyers in private law firms: some are very good, some are average and some are just

drawing a bi-weekly paycheck. One thing is certain: the average public defender knows more

about Criminal Law than the average private lawyer. By the way, your son is charged with strong-

arm or 2nd degree Robbery. This charge carries a maximum of ten (10) years in state prison. And

2nd degree Robbery comes under the "No Early Release Act" or "85% Rule." This means that the

defendant must serve 85% of whatever sentence he receives before he goes before the Parole

Board for the first time. (Get your son out on bail so he can help prepare his defense!)

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 15 years ago | Contributor

Whether or not to post bail is a personal choice.  If you feel that your son will be a flight risk (ie jump bail), then you would be doing yourself a favor by not posting bail.  However, that choice is up to you.  It won't look better one way or the other if he is in or out of jail.

As for getting a public defender, again your choice, assuming that your son qualifies (there are income requirements).  Just know that they are swamped and may not be able to give your son's case all the attention that is needed.  If possible, you should consider retaining a private attorney to represent him.

No easy choices here.  Best of luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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