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Bail Information

Criminal Court Guide

This guide is published by Storobin & Spodek LLP in order to help the readers learn about cases in criminal courts in New York. It is not intended to be legal advice, merely a way to help you understand your needs as your case moves along in New York Criminal courts. All the information, including the law, procedure and penal code is believed to be accurate, but can't be guaranteed due to possible changes and errors. The guide is for information and entertainment purposes only with the express expectation and agreement by the readers that it will not be acted upon in any way. No attorney-client relationship exists or can exist based on the offering of the information in this guide. We strongly suggest you retain the services of a competent criminal defense lawyer to defend your rights.

N.Y. Penal Code
New York DWI
Domestic Violence
Sex Offenders
Arraignments
Property Back After Arrest
Court Phones & Info
New York Jails and Riker's Island Info

For a free consultation with a criminal attorney, you may call (646) 350-0601 .



What is bail?

Bail is security given for the release of an arrested person as a guarantee that the person will return to court in the future. Cash bail is the amount of cash that must be deposited.

What is an arraignment?

Visit our New York Arraignments page.

What is ROR?

Receiving ROR means being released on your own recognize. You do not need to put up bail and can leave on your promise to return to court at the next scheduled date. If you do not appear in court on the appointed date, a judge may issue a bench warrant for your arrest and upon being brought to court, you may be forced to pay bail before leaving.

What is remand?

If you've been remanded, it means that bail has been denied and you will be kept in custody.

What is a bail bondsman?

A bail bondsman acts as a surety to guarantee to pay the city the amount of your bail if you do not show up in court. For large bail amounts, bondsmen can generally obtain security against such as your house, and even take out a mortgage against your house for the full sum of the bond. Many bail bondsmen write bonds for 10% of the value of the bond.

Will I get my bail back?

Yes, you can get your bail back, but you are required to make all the court apppearances. Generally, you'll receive 100% back if the case is dismissed or you are found not guilty, and you'll get 97% back if you are found guilty or take a plea.

How can I get my bail back?

If you paid bail at Court or at a local Jail in NYC, the money is turned over to the New York City Department of Finance along with a copy of the bail receipt. The receipt will have an account number of a Treasury receipt Number.

If the defendant has made all required court appearances and the case has been resolved either by plea, a dismissal or at trial the Judge will issue an order exonerating the bail. The order will be sent automatically five weeks after the case is over. approximately two weeks after the Department of Finance receives the order, a check will be mailed out to the Surety (the one who paid the bail) and it mailed to the address listed on the receipt. If you the bail is to be issued to someone else then a formal bail assignment will need to be done and the money will be sent to the individual named on the assignment.

If the case ends with a conviction either through trial or plea, then under Section 99-M of the General Municipal Law a 3% fee will be deducted from the bail proceeds.

If you would like to visit the New York City Department of Finance office to inquire about bail, you must have two forms of identification with you at least one being a photo ID and the original bail receipt.

Acceptable forms of ID are:

  • Valid NYS Drivers License or Non-Drivers ID
  • Passport
  • ATM Bank Card of Credit Card
  • Voters Registration Card
  • Employment ID
  • Utility Bills and another acceptable form of ID with your signature

Unacceptable forms of ID are:

  • Birth certificates
  • Social Security Cards

The surety is the only who can inquire about the bail. If the surety would like another person to inquire about the bail then the surety needs to sign a notarized statement authorizing that individual to inquire about the bail. If an attorney has been assigned the bail then that attorney can inquire about the status of the bail.

important information to have when inquiring about bail is:

  • The docket number or indictment number of the case
  • The treasury receipt number
  • Defendants full name
  • The date and county in which the bail was posted
  • The amount of the bail posted
  • The surety’s name

The surety can change his or her address on the bail receipt in two ways.

  1. In Person – Bring original bail receipt and two forms of acceptable ID
  2. By Mail – Mail a notarized letter with the new address along with a copy of the bail receipt.

The surety can assign the bail to another person or to an attorney

  • Either a notarized letter assigning the bail to another person with the original bail receipt or a notarized bail assignment form along with the original ID

Fore more information, contact the NYC Dept. of Finance at:

Department of Finance

Civil Services Unit

Bail Unit

1 Centre Street, Room 2200

New York, NY 10007

(212) 669-2879/80

How I get my property back that was confiscated upon my arrest?

Visit our web page on how to get your Property Back After Arrest.

How will I know what bail was set?

At the end of the arraignment, which is your first appearance in the court, the judge will issue bail. If the judge orders ROR or parole, you may leave without putting up bail. If the judge orders remand, you must stay in custody because bail was denied. If the judge sets bail, he may either give one number (e.g., $3,000) or order a different sum for cash bail and a bail bond (e.g., "Bail is $5,000 bond over $1,000 cash).

How can I pay the bail?

The Department of Corrections will accept the following forms of cash bail:

  • Cash;
  • Cashier's checks;
  • U.S. Postal Service, Bank, Western Union, Traveler's Express or Federal Express money orders up to $1,000 (multiple money-orders for $1,000 or less each will be accepted)
  • Check issued by the city Finance Administrator for a bail refund.
  • Checks from the U.S. Government and Veterans Administration Check up to $1000(multiple checks for $1,000 or less each will be accepted)
  • Credit cards and personal checks are not accepted.

Where can I post cash bail?

Bail may be paid in the courtroom if it is posted at the time when the defendant actually appears there before the judge. If the defendant was already taken away from court, you may post bail at:

  • Bronx House of Detention
    653 River Avenue, Bronx, NY 10451
  • Brooklyn House of Detention
    275 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11201
  • Manhattan House of Detention (The Tombs)
    125 White Street, New York, NY 10013
  • Queens House of Detention
    126-02 82nd Avenue, Queens, NY 11415
  • Riker's Island
    11-11 Hazen Avenue, East Elmhurst, NY 11370

For more information on inmates, bail, visiting hours, and travel directions call Department of Corrections at (718) 546-0700.

How can property be used as bail?

In cases where the bail is extraordinarily high, your lawyer can request that property be accept as bail, either by writ or through negotiation with the prosecutor and with consent of the judge. The property is often required to have double the value of your bail.

Can the judge set cash-only bail?

Yes, in a minority of cases, Judges order cash-only bail, meaning that you must put up the full amount of the bail with cash in order for the defendant to be allowed out of custody. Your criminal defense lawyer may take a writ of habeas corpus to "appeal" the cash-only bail. These "appeals" are usually heard within 1-3 days.

How much is the bail going to be?

No case is typical. Bail depends on many factors, such as the facts of the case, the charges faced, the people involved (judge, prosecutor, wishes of complaining witness and the skills of your criminal defense attorney). Thus, every case will be very different. We strongly suggest that you bring the maximum amount of money available to court to post bail. The judge will not ask how much you have. Bail will be set without anyone inquiring as to your ability to pay it. If you bring too much money, you will simply have to pay part of them and take the rest home. However, if you do not bring enough, you may be forced to leave your loved one in custody overnight. The following information are rough guidelines of what the bail may be, which may be different in your case:

Misdemeanors: It has been our experience that the clear majority of the people arrested for misdemeanors only and without any prior arrests are released without bail. It is also usually possible to obtain ROR even if you have a limited number of prior arrests, so long as you have appeared in court in the past every time you had a scheduled court date. In misdemeanor cases, bail is set at over $5,000 only in extraordinary matters.

Felonies: For the high level offenses (A felonies), bail may be denied and the defendant may be remanded. Sometimes, judges may issue large bails, usually in the amount of a hundred thousand dollars or more for A-class felonies. For lower-level felonies, such as D and E, it is sometimes possible to get ROR, but you should not come to court expecting the defendant to be released without bail if he was arrested for a D-class or E-class felony. In most felonies, bail will be set at anywhere between $1,000 and $30,000. Anyone with a prior history of felony offenses will very likely have bail set at $2,000 or more.

What is a bail sufficiency hearing?

If an individual is charged with a drug case, or white-collar fraud case the ADA at arraignment will generally ask for a “72 hour surety” and the Judge will generally order one. It is known as either a surety hearing or a bail sufficiency hearing.

A surety hearing means that the ADA is concerned that the defendant might be able to have his bail posted, or the fee of any bail bond posted by illicit funds.  Funds that were received as part of a criminal transaction. The ADA will have 72 hours from the posting of the bail/bond to investigate the funds and then to either have a hearing on the issue, or consent of the defendants release. Generally, the ADA will consent to the defendants release if the funds are all accounted for from legitimate sources. This is not a quick process.

The first thing that needs to happen is the obligor’s need to gather all documentation that can show where the bail money or fee came from. This might include pay-stubs, tax returns, bank statements, letters documenting gifts, etc.  This needs to be done for each individual posting bail or the bail bond fee. Once this package is ready, it should be faxed and/or hand delivered to the ADA. Your defense attorney should confirm with the ADA that he or she has received the package. This is imperative. It would be wise to leave your cell phone number with the ADA and to let them know you are available to provide any further documentation, and to answer any questions. Further, the DA might want to question the obligor’s either in person or on the phone regarding the bail. The obligor’s should be available ASAP to do this.

This documentation then will be presented to the Judge. The Judge will then make a decision whether the funds are legitimate or not. The Judge might also order that any collateral for a bond be increased. The Judge will then either approve or decline the bond. Each Judge might have their own preferences for collateral and an experienced defense attorney and bail bondsman can assist in preparing a bail package that will be approved. Once the Judge gives the package the OK, it is now up to the DA to make a decision.  Since the DA has already received the basic package, he or she has hopefully given the ok to release the defendant.If not then you need to prepare for a hearing on the issue.

Unfortunately the way that it works is that Corrections will produce the defendant in the Court each day once the bail is posted. The defendant will just be sitting around waiting for the ADA to make the decision.

If no hearing is ordered and the DA consents, the next step is to make sure that the DA has sent the necessary paperwork to the Jail. You can not rely on this being done. Your attorney must call the DA and confirm that this has been done.

The final step is to make sure that the jail has the paperwork. Again, your attorney must call the Jail until you confirm that they have the paperwork.

Can I suddenly be released without bail even the judge sets it?

After Arraignment on a Felony Charge when the Defendant is held in custodyl the Judge will put the case over for what is called the “180.80 Day.”

Under Criminal Procedure Law (“CPL”) 180.80 if you are arrested on a felony change, the DA must take some action on your case within 120 hours (5 days), or 144 hours (6 days) if the period includes a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, from the time you were arrested.

If the DA has not by that time either:

  • Commenced a preliminary hearing (Does not happen, since defense counsel is allowed to cross-examine the witnesses)
  • File a written certification with the Court that the Grand Jury has voted an indictment, a true bill.
  • Or notified the Court that the Grand Jury has directed the DA to file a prosecutors information charging a Misdemeanor offense.

Then the Court must release the defendant on his or her own recognizance. This does not mean your case is over, it just means that you can no longer be held in custody.

There are some exceptions to this rule in which the Court can extend the time:

  • If the Defense Attorney asks for an adjournment or cause the delay, or
  • If the DA proves to the Court that there is some compelling reason for his or her failure to meet this time limit
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