A summons is the process by which a defendant is ordered to appear before the Court on a certain date. If a summons is used, a Court Disposition Report – 1 (CDR -1) is filled out and a copy is handed to the defendant, who is then released. These reports are forwarded to the State Police and are used to create an offender's computerized criminal history (CCH) commonly referred to as a rap sheet.
b. Arrest Pursuant to a Warrant
An arrest warrant is a document that orders the police to arrest a defendant and bring him before the court issuing the warrant. If an arrest warrant is used, a CDR-2 is filled out and bail is set. If bail is posted the defendant is set free. If bail is not posted, the defendant is detained pending a first appearance, which is normally held in Municipal Court. However, in some counties first appearances are centralized before the presiding judge of the Municipal Courts or a Superior Court judge.
c. Arrest without a Warrant
In many instances, the criminal process actually begins with an arrest by a police officer where no formal papers, i.e. complaint, have been filed with the court. Where this occurs, the accused is arrested, brought to police headquarters where a complaint is prepared. The matter is then brought before a judicial officer, who determines whether there is probable cause that an offense has been committed by the accused and determines whether a summons or warrant will be issued. See R. 3:4-1. If the judicial officer issues a summons, the defendant is given the complaint-summons (CDR-1) and told to appear at a later date. If the judicial officer issues a complaint-warrant (CDR-2), the defendant is remanded to jail unless bail is posted. Simultaneous with making of the probable cause determination, the judicial officer should also set bail, or the conditions under which the defendant may be released from jail pre-trial, such as Released on 7
his/her own Recognizance (R.O.R.), no contact with victim, or cash bail. The present Court Rules allow for the setting of bail by a Municipal Court administrator or deputy court administrator in the absence of a judge at the judge's discretion. There is also statutory authority for this responsibility. See N.J.S.A. 2B:12-21c.