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Correctional Definitions

The definitions and terms listed on this page are applied as they are legally used, governed and defined by the State of New Jersey and other Local Ordinances that apply within the jurisdiction of Cape May County and the policies of the Cape May County Sheriff's Office.

Bail - The release of an inmate in exchange for security given, insuring the appearance of the defendant in court. Basically, you are assuming the responsibility of assuring that the defendant you are "bailing out" will appear in court as specified and meet all the conditions specified on the bail release by posting a security (money). Bail is only taken in the forms of a bail bond, certified bank check, money order and cash. **All cash bails must be exact change. The cash is deposited into a drop safe so there is no means to make change. We also can not take the overage (i.e.. "Keep the change!"). We DO NOT accept credit cards or personal checks. If any of the bails contain indictable charges, a state mandated service charge of thirty dollars ($30.00) is required per bail.  Bails are usually returned to the person posting the bail several weeks after the completion of the defendant's court case. If the bailed defendant fails to appear in court or fails to comply with any other specified conditions of the bail release, the court may keep the bail that you posted.

Bail Bond Agent or Bail Bondsman - Bond agents have a standing security agreement with local court officials, in which they agree to post an irrevocable "blanket" bond, which will pay the court if any defendant for whom the bond agent is responsible does not appear. The bond agent usually has an arrangement with an insurance company, bank or another credit provider to draw on such security, even during hours when the bank is not operating. This eliminates the need for the bondsman to deposit cash or property with the court every time a new defendant is bailed out.

Bond agents generally charge a fee of 10% of the total amount of the bail required in order to post a bond for the amount. This fee is not refundable and represents the bond agent's compensation for his or her services. Bond agents can generally obtain security against the assets of the defendant or persons willing to assist the defendant. For example, for a $100,000 bond for a person who owns a home, the bond agent would charge $10,000 and take a mortgage against the house for the full penal sum of the bond.

If the defendant fails to appear in court, the bond agent is allowed by law and/or contractual arrangement to bring the defendant to the jurisdiction of the court in order to recover the money paid out under the bond, usually through the use of a bounty hunter. The bond agent is also allowed to sue the defendant for any money forfeited to the court should the defendant fail to appear.

In most jurisdictions, bond agents must be licensed to run a business within the state.

Condition of Release - a conditional order set by the Court to do something specific or to pay a monetary fine in order to be released from incarceration. An inmate can be released upon proof that each condition was satisfied by the offender. Monetary conditions are similar to a "bail " except that it can not be paid with bail bond and is not returned to the person posting the money. The funds are applied to the inmate's court ordered reciprocity and/or the fines imposed. C.O.R. payments are only taken in the forms of a certified bank check, money order and cash.

**All cash payments must be exact change. The cash is deposited into a drop safe so there is no means to make change. We also can not take the overage (i.e. "Keep the change!"). We DO NOT accept credit cards or personal checks.

Defendant - 1. a person, group or business or collective required to answer the complaint filed in a legal action or lawsuit. 2. A person, group or business that has been charged with a crime.

Degree of Crime - The intensity of the crime is rated in degrees based on a set of standards that were formed by the Attorney Generals office. The degrees are rated in the order of 1st degree crime (highest) to 4th degree crime (lowest). All Indicted charges will be heard in a Superior Court in the presence of a Grand Jury.

Disorderly Persons Offense - Charges against a defendant that do not meet the criteria to become an Indictable offense. Local municipal charges are an example. Usually results in the defendant receiving a ticket or summons with a payable fine rather than going to jail and needing to post a bail.

Grand Jury - a jury that examines accusations against persons charged with a crime and; if the evidence warrants, makes formal charges on which the accused persons are later tried

Indictable - a charge against a defendant, that once heard by a Grand Jury, is gauged in degrees .  If the Grand Jury decides the circumstances of the crime do not meet any of the conditions to escalate the charges then the charges can be downgraded to a Disorderly Person offense or Petty Disorderly Persons offense which will be heard in the Municipal Court where the offense took place.

Petty Disorderly Persons Offense - Charges against a defendant that do not meet the criteria to become an Indictable offense. Local municipal charges are an example.

Plaintiff - a person who seeks relief or resolution, by filing a legal complaint against a defendant through the Court System. 

Reciprocity -as it relates to Court, reciprocity is a sum of money or other form of payment ordered by the Court, to be paid by the defendant to the plaintiff as compensation for loss or damages. 

Subpoena - to order a defendant or witness to appear in court to give evidence; to issue a subpoena to the defendant or other to provide evidence to the court.

Summons - a warning or citation to appear in court: as 1: a written notification to be served on a person as a warning to appear in court for a day specified to answer to the plaintiff. 2: a subpoena to appear as a witness.


Revised on June 29, 2017

SERVING CAPE MAY COUNTY, NJ SINCE 1692

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