Bail Reform : Complaint Summons vs Complaint Warrant

by | Dec 3, 2016 | Blog, Criminal Law, Law Reform and Amendments

“The decision whether to charge by complaint-summons (commonly referred to as a CDR-1)  or complaint-warrant (commonly referred to as a CDR-2) takes on enhanced significance under the Bail Reform Law. The issuance of a complaint-warrant is the triggering event for many of the provisions of the new law defining the universe of so-called “eligible defendants” under the statute. See N.J.S.A. 2A: 162-15 (defining the term “eligible defendant” as used throughout the Bail Reform Law as a person “for whom a complaint-warrant is issued”). One of the significant practical consequences of the initial charging decision  is that when  a complaint-warrant  is issued by a judge  or other authorized judicial officer, the defendant must be taken to a county jail, where he or she will be held for up to 48 hours.  See N.J .S.A. 2A:162- 16(a). During that period of statutorily-mandated confinement, the new pretrial services program will have an opportunity to prepare a recommendation to the court as to appropriate conditions of pretrial release and the level of monitoring the court should impose at the time of  defendant’s  first  appearance.”

It will be interesting to see what role the decision to charge by complaint or warrant plays with regard to whether arrestee’s choose to waive their Miranda rights and make statements to the police with the hope of being released on a summons by “cooperating” with law enforcement. In explaining why there is almost never a benefit to waiving your right to remain silent, I routinely tell people that even if the police indicate that a higher bail will be set if they exercise their right to remain silent, they will be given a reasonable amount of time to make arrangements to post bail before they are lodged in the county jail. The Attorney General’s Directive seems to indicate that this will not be the case in the near future when defendants will routinely be held in the county jail for up to 48 hours before it is possible for them to secure their release.