In a criminal action in New York bail is set to insure that the defendant will return to court. Usually the more serious the charge the higher the amount of bail will be set. Bail is not to serve as either preventive detention or as a pretrial punishment. If the defendant does not return to court as required bail can be forfeited.
Types of Bail
In New York there are several types of bail including a cash bail or a bond. In some instances credit cards can be used to post bail. Bail can also be posted at the local jail or in court. An accused can also use collateral through a bail bonds office to post bail.
The Bail process
In a New York criminal action bail will be set usually at arraignment. In Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange and Dutchess counties bail can be set without a defense attorney present because most of the courts in those counties meet part time and either a judge will be called in or bail will be set at the police department. Bail is reviewable once the defense attorney and District Attorney are present.
Factors the Court will consider in setting bail
The criminal procedure law section 510.30(2)(a) outlines criteria for the court to consider in setting bail.
1. Character, reputation, habits and mental condition of the defendant
2. Employment and financial resources
3. Family ties and length of residence in the community
4. Criminal or juvenile record
5. Previous record of court appearances or flight
6. Weight of evidence against the defendant
7. Any potential sentence
Release on Recognizance (ROR)
Instead of posting bail a defendant may be released by the court with a promise to return. The police may also issue a Desk Appearance Ticket that diets the accused to appear in court ROR at a certain place and time.
Importance of Bail
It is important for the accused or the accused family to understand in order to secure release from jail during the pendency of the case bail is necessary. Calling a criminal defense attorney early in the process is important since once bail is set it can be difficult to have that amount changed without showing a change in circumstances.
In Westchetser County and other counties with justice courts any bail set in the local criminal court can be reviewed by a superior court. If the accused is incarcerated the case must be put on the superior court's calendar as soon as possible. Typically a request to the Westchester County criminal calendar clerk must be made before 3:00 PM to insure that the accused will be produced the next day.
Bail is a critical part of the process in criminal defense. Of course no one wants to be in jail while their case is pending but it is also important from a criminal defense perspective as it is important to have the accused released to cooperate in the preparation of the defense.
The top criminal defense attorneys will have the issue of bail addressed quickly and if necessary again as the case progresses.