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.