Westchester Criminal Defense Attorney Explains Bail

If you or a loved one has been arrested one of the first legal aspects of the criminal case is the setting of bail. How bail is applied and used can create some confusion for the accused and their families. This legal blog is intended to provide a basic understanding of bail in New York State.

Before making serious decisions about bail one should consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Our criminal defense attorneys are former prosecutors who regularly appear in the criminal courts of Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess, Orange counties and the Bronx. We provide aggressive legal representation to keep our client's out of jail and to provide the best possible criminal defense.

Call us today for a free legal consultation.

When Can Bail Be Set?

  1. By a police officer for an offense of a class "E" felony or lower
  2. At arraignment
  3. After indictment
  4. After conviction and prior to sentencing
  5. After sentencing, should the case be appealed

What is the Purpose of Bail?

The main purpose of bail is to insure the accused's return to court. If there is a greater risk that the accused will flee the jurisdiction the higher the bail. If the charge is serious the bail will generally be higher.

Impermissible Uses of Bail

Bail is not designed to serve as a punishment or to keep an accused in jail. CPL 510.30 outlines criteria that applies to the setting of bail, including the following:

  • Character & Reputation
  • Employment
  • Financial Resources
  • Family Ties
  • Ties to the Community
  • Previous Criminal Record

What are the Types of Bail?

CPL 530 provides for many different types of bail including, cash, insurance company bail bond, a secured surety bond and/or a secured appearance bond. Other than cash, posting of a bond usually requires the accused to hire a bail bondsman.

Conditions of Bail

Many Judges will often set certain conditions of release on bail upon an accused. Some of these conditions include participation in a drug/alcohol treatment program, avoiding new arrests, compliance with orders of protection, attending work or school, curfew, surrendering a passport, restrictions on travel and importantly appearing at every scheduled court appearance.

Can Bail be Adjusted?

Bail can always be modified by a court. Bail set in a local criminal court can also be appealed to a superior court.

What is Release in your Own Recognizance (ROR)?

When it is determined that an accused will return to court, a court or police officer may release an accused "ROR" with a promise to return on a specific date and time.

Is my Bail Money Returned to Me?

Yes, bail money will be returned at the conclusion of a case when the accused no longer has any obligations before the court. In most instances, 3% of the bail posted is retained as a poundage "tax".

How to get out of Jail

In some instances people in jail are awaiting trial or a regular court date. When bail is set sometimes the amount of bail is so high that a person just remains in jail. It is important to hire a criminal defense attorney to challenge the bail amount to a reasonable amount to have the individual released.

Call the law firm of Proto, Sachs & Brown, LLP for a free criminal defense legal consultation. We always meet with our clients and keep our clients informed regarding the status of their case. Your phone calls will be returned and we will meet with you about your case.

Call today for a free initial consultation.