The Pretrial Process
There are five steps to the Pretrial process:
Merrimack County Pretrial Services interviews all pretrial detainees held in the county jail overnight on cash or no bail. These interviews are done five days a week.
The Pretrial Officers explain the purpose of the interview and informs the arrestee that the interview process is voluntary.
Information relevant to ties to the community, residence, telephone, employment, education, current charges, criminal and motor vehicle background is part of the interview process. Outstanding warrants, Probation or Parole supervision as well as prior Pretrial Services history are factors in deciding appropriate supervision.
Upon completing the interviews at the county jail, the Pretrial Officers proceed to the office and begin to verify the information collected.
The Pretrial Officer will inquire and determine if the arrestee may have anyone in their immediate family or circle of friends who may be able to post bail for them.
3. Court Appearance:
The Pretrial Officer makes an appearance in court for the arraignment.
The interview summary indicates what information has been verified and current criminal records may be attached. These forms are available to the court, prosecutor, and defense attorney.
If the arrestee is being arraigned in a court that the officer cannot get to in time for arraignments, the officer will fax the interview information to the court.
Pretrial does not make any formal recommendation to the court regarding a client’s eligibility of release. Pretrial can make recommendations of supervision.
The courts in criminal cases use the State of NH “Orders and Conditions of Bail” form NHJB-2369-D and in domestic violence cases form NHJB-2422-DS; they also refer to the Merrimack County Pretrial Services “Supplemental Bail Order” form for supervised conditions of release.
Pretrial Services supervises the conditions of release by implementing individualized supervision plans which may include, and not limited to:
- Substance Abuse Assessment
- Batterers Intervention Assessment
- Anger Management Assessment
- Random Urinalysis
- Electronic Monitoring
- Mental Health Referrals
- Random Home Visits
- Substance Abuse programming may include treatment or referral to a relapse prevention group, and/or substance abuse education.
Pretrial Services provides an opportunity for the defendant to be assessed for eligibility alternative sentencing programs or a referral to Diversion.
All violations of bail conditions are reported in writing with a brief synopsis of the non-compliance to the court, prosecutor, and defense attorney. It is the discretion of the prosecutor to act on non-compliance reports.
If a client complies with the conditions of his/her bail release, they or their attorney may request a Summary Letter of Compliance from PTS to the court.