What You Need to Know About Bails in New York

Bail allows someone who has been arrested on suspicion of committing a criminal offense the opportunity to be released while the case is under investigation. The accused person must attend all court appearances and in turn, most of the money that was paid in the bail can be returned. However, the city will keep some percentage of the bail. Bail is usually announced during the arraignment process, which occurs after arrest, and the accused person is given notice that he or she has been charged with a crime.

What if I do not have enough to pay the bail?

One option that many turn to is using a bail bond. Usually, it involves a third-party company, who will pay the bail to the courts. When you enter into a bail bond agreement, the company supplying the funds is holding onto the fact that you or the accused will attend every court appearance. Fortunately, most bail bond companies only charge a small amount for handling the bail, such as 10% of the cost. Keep in mind, though, that what makes using a bail bond different than paying the bail with upfront cash is that you will not receive that money back.

How much does bail cost?

This will depend on your charges and the judge overseeing the matter. Some judges will go lightly and then others, who have much stricter perspectives and standards on particular issues, might impose a higher amount that corresponds to what they believe is necessary. Our criminal defense attorneys serve Queens and New York City, and we have seen a range of criminal offenses ranging up and down the criminal justice system. We can offer a general guideline about the matter. Misdemeanors may range anywhere between $0 to $5000 bail amount, while a felony charge can run anywhere between $3500 to $25, 000 or more. Some cases, such as robbery, can land somewhere between $1500 and $25, 000. Those who have a prior criminal history may have bails set on the higher end of the spectrum.

What is needed to post bail?

If you are paying a cash bail, you would need to provide some form of identification and post directly to the courthouse or the Department of Corrections. You will also need the New York State Identification Number (NYSID) of the person you are bailing out. You can ask criminal defense lawyer in charge of the case to provide this for you.

The process works similarly if you are working with a bail bondsman, as you will need collateral. You and the bail bondsman can come to an agreement on what exactly that will be. You will also need a copy of your pay stubs, or a utility bill, as a way of demonstrating that you have a place of residence, you are employed, and making an income of at least $20, 000.

How quickly is one released after bail has been posted?

Typically, a person can be released relatively quickly once bail has been posted. Ideally, you will want to pay attention to the courthouse’s hours of operation, usually Monday through Friday, 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. The earlier in the day, the better. If bail is posted too late in the day, it may not be processed until the next morning. You can also post bail at any jail where the accused is being held, but posting at the exact jail unit certainly can expedite the process.

Musa-Obregon & Associates has a combined 75 years of experience advocating for the rights of those who have been charged with serious crimes. We are professional, hard-working, and committed to achieving winning outcomes for clients. Should you have further questions about the bail process, trials, and other questions about criminal defense, do not hesitate to contact us!

For more answers to your frequently asked criminal defense questions, please click here.

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