How is Bail Set in New York State?

The two main bails in New York State are cash bail or bond, and when bail is set by the police, it is only in cash. The court will set a cash bond and will also establish an alternative bond so that a person who does not have a full amount of cash can be released from jail by paying that bond. Bail is money or other security that is given to the court in exchange for releasing the defendant from jail and for the defendant's promise to appear in court again for the next hearing. The payment of bail allows the defendant to return to their normal life until the case is over. The judge decides the amount of the bail.

Bail can be denied in felony cases or when the defendant has two previous felony convictions. The accused can also be released without bail (see hearings). The bond is returned once the case is finished. If the defendant is convicted, a percentage of the money is not returned. After being arrested, defendants are granted or denied bail during the arraignment or bail hearing.

Bail refers to the money or other security that a person arrested for a criminal offence gives to the court in exchange for their early release before a hearing date is set, on the condition that they agree to appear on that date. If you are charged with a crime that does not qualify for pre-trial detention or a similar security order, your arraignment lawyer should argue that the law does not allow bail. If the case took place outside of New York City and the court fixed a fine, mandatory surcharge, or assistance fee for victims of a crime in the case, the guarantor may request that the money from the bail be used in cash to pay the fine or fee. If the defendant attended all the hearings and the case took place in New York City, the cash bond will be mailed by check to the guarantor (the person who paid the bail) when the case is over. In most cases, the deposit must be paid in cash, but sometimes collateral such as real estate or other assets can be used to secure the bond.

Judges can follow a standard bail schedule when setting bail, setting a higher or lower amount, or determining bail based on the circumstances of the case. An NYCLU report based on data prior to bail reform revealed that in eight upstate counties, white New Yorkers were twice as likely to be released on bail as black New Yorkers. If a case is dismissed or the defendant is pleaded not guilty, the state will mail a check with the full amount of the bail to the person who paid the bail. Once the bond agreement is signed, the bond company deposits the bond in the courtroom in front of the defendant, or in Department of Corrections if that is where they are being held. Under CPL 520.10 (b), courts must pay “the bond” on any of three or more forms specified in subdivision one of this section, designated as an alternative, and may designate different amounts that vary depending on forms, except one of forms will be an unsecured or partially secured security bond, as selected by court. To do this, guarantor (person who paid bail) files notary statement requesting Clerk of Court to allocate bail money to fine or fees. Depending on offence being charged, CPL 500.10 defines different types of security orders, both monetary and non-monetary, while CPL 520.10 (establishes how court can set these bail options).

Bail bonds are form of bond which defendant's family or friend uses services of bail bond agency or commercial bond agents to obtain bail in exchange for paying reasonable premium and jointly signing agreement stating defendant will meet certain conditions upon release. In every district of New York City and other parts of state, judge may decide to set bond or other guarantee order at time of appearance.

Maya Rayshell
Maya Rayshell

Unapologetic web junkie. Total pop culture nerd. Lifelong food advocate. Infuriatingly humble music aficionado. Lifelong web fan. Award-winning pop culture expert.

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