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The Basics of Bail in New York

After an arrest, many individuals are overcome by feelings of stress and the fear of the unknown. The main priority of most suspects is ensuring that they are promptly released from jail so that they may attend to their ongoing responsibilities like employment and their children.

In the state of New York, bail is not typically determined until an arraignment occurs. An arraignment is the first court appearance a suspect will attend. During an arraignment, the court will formally read the criminal complaint to the accused. Typically, an arraignment occurs within 24 hours of an arrest. At the conclusion of the arraignment, a judge will make a determination of whether bail is necessary.

Types of Bail

Bail is the amount of money that must be paid before being released. The purpose of bail is to ensure that a defendant will continue to appear in court during all future court appearances. In addition, bail acts as a security and may be forfeited in the event the suspect fails to appear at any or all of the required court proceedings.

For some minor offenses, the court will not require a bail to be posted. In these instances, the court will issue a Release on Recognizance. To accept this form of release the individual must fill out documentation promising to appear in court for all future appearances.

Otherwise, the court will determine the amount of bail an individual must provide before they are released. If an individual cannot afford to post bail, they will be required to remain in jail until the case is complete. The court uses a variety of factors to determine the amount of bail, including the seriousness of the offense at hand, whether the suspect committed any prior offenses, whether the suspect is a flight risk, and whether the suspect poses a risk of danger to the community. Once the monetary amount of bail is determined, the suspect makes bail in one of two ways:

  • Cash bail: A cash bail is simply a cash payment from the suspect. A cash bail may be paid to the court during the suspect’s initial appearance. Otherwise, a cash bail may be paid directly to the jail where the suspect is being held.
  • Bail bond: A bail bond is a bail bondsman’s promise to pay the bail amount if the suspect does not appear in court. A bail bondsman must be licensed in New York State. A bail bondsman usually charges a fee for use of the service.

Return of Bail

An inquiry into the type of bail posted is necessary to determine whether funds will be returned to the suspect at the end of a case. Return of bail is only permitted in instances where cash bail was posted. Usually, a bail bondsman does not return any fees, as they serve as fees for the service provided.

If a defendant attended all the required court appearances, a cash bail should be returned when the case is complete. However, an amount will be deducted if the individual is found guilty of the crimes charged.

Contact an Attorney

Having legal representation at the time of a bail hearing could be invaluable. Phillip J. Murphy, Attorney at Law, will meet with you in Rockland or Bergen County to discuss many of the factors that the court uses to determine the amount of bail. Armed with knowledge about your past and present, Attorney Murphy will work hard to get you the lowest possible bail amount. Contact Attorney Murphy today for an initial consultation.

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