The Pretrial Process
There are five steps to the Pretrial process:
1. Interview & collection of Data and Information
2. Verification of Data and Information
3. Court Appearance
4. Release of Defendant on Bail
A. Compliance vs. Non-Compliance
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.
The Pretrial Officers collect information relevant to ties to the community, residence, telephone, employment, education, current charges, criminal and motor vehicle background, outstanding warrants (including bench warrants) and other pretrial services contacts. This includes probation & parole.
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 form 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.
The courts use the State
Pretrial Services supervises the conditions of release by implementing individualized supervision plans which may include, but not limited to:
a. Substance Abuse Assessment
b. Batterers Intervention Assessment
c. Anger Management Assessment
d. Random Urinalysis
f. Electronic Monitoring
g. Mental Health Referrals
h. Random Home Visits
i. Substance Abuse programming which may include referral to treatment, a relapse prevention group, and/or substance abuse education.
Pretrial Services provides an opportunity for the defendant to be assessed for eligibility of alternative sentencing programs or referral to Diversion.
All violations of any condition of bail are reported in writing to the court, the prosecutor, and the defense attorney. It is the discretion of the prosecutor to act on non-compliance reports. The Pretrial Officer will provide a brief written synopsis of the non-compliance.
If a client excels and fully complies with all conditions of his/her bail release, they or their attorney may request the Director of Pretrial Services provide a Letter of Compliance to the court.