During an arraignment, a judge will set a cash amount a defendant can pay to be released from jail. This amount is known as bail, and how much it cost will depend on factors such as the charges against the defendant and their criminal history. Posting bail is not a get out of jail free card. Defendants will still be required to appear in court and stay out of trouble.
Whether a defendant will be released on bail and how much it will cost is entirely up to the judge. Having an attorney present during an arraignment is vital to ensure the set amount is suitable for the alleged crime. Not only this, but an attorney can argue to have a defendant released without bail.
Criminal Defense Attorney in Garden City
The sooner an attorney gets involved with your legal proceedings, the better your chances of a more favorable outcome. Stephanie Selloni will fight to ensure you are not behind bars during any pre-trial negotiations or hearings. She will explain the facts of your case and do everything she can to convince a judge that you should be released on bail.
You can call 516-972-1212 to schedule a time to speak with Law Office of Stephanie Selloni. Ms. Selloni represents clients in Nassau County, Suffolk County and Westchester County.
- What is Bail and How Does it Work?
- Factors in Determining Bail
- Types of Bail in New York
- Changes Coming to Bail Practices in New York
- Additional Resources
What is Bail and How Does it Work?
Following an arrest, a person will be taken to a police station or booking facility. Some offenders may be released without seeing a judge while others will remain in custody. When a defendant is not released, they will be held until they can appear for an arraignment.
During an arraignment, a judge will notify the defendant of the charges against them, and they will have the chance to plead their case. If they plead not guilty, a judge will consider various factors and set a bail amount. Bail acts as a temporary release from jail while a defendant awaits trial. They will still be required to return to court and failing to do so will result in a warrant for arrest.
Most people do not have the full bail amount readily available, so they rely on bail bonds to cover the cost. Signing a bond agreement often requires cash or property as collateral. Most of the time, the money or property will be returned once a case is complete and a defendant appeared for all their court dates. However, a 3% fee will be taken off if the defendant is found guilty or pleads guilty.
Factors in Determining Bail
As mentioned previously, a judge will considerer various factors when determining whether or not a defendant is eligible for bail. These factors include:
- Character, reputation, habits and mental conditions
- Employment and financial resources
- Family ties and length of residence in the community
- Criminal history
- History of appearing for court dates
- The sentence if the defendant is convicted
- If the defendant was charged with a crime against family or household members
- Weight of the evidence
In some circumstances, determining bail is a matter of discretion rather than law. This mainly applies to felony cases involving the death penalty. When this is the case, the defendant will be held in jail until the case is finished.
Types of Bail in New York
A judge can choose from nine different types of bail in New York. Of these nine, a judge is encouraged to pick two options for a defendant to choose from. By allowing the defendant two options, they can pick which option is best for their financial situation.
Listed below is a brief explanation of each bail type in New York:
- Cash Bail: Cash bail is one of the most popular options among judges, though changes to this type of bail may be coming. Either the defendant or a co-signer can pay this type of bail. The amount is required to be paid in full and must be in cash.
- Insurance Company Bond: Insurance bonds are also standard bail options among judges. A bondsman covers this type of bail in exchange for a non-refundable fee and collateral property. The fee is calculated based on the percentage of the bond amount. A bondsman can also impose conditions to the bond like weekly reporting.
- Secured Surety Bond: A secured surety bond allows family, friends and defendants to supply the court with personal property greater or equal to the value of the bail amount such as cars and stocks. Real property, typically a deed to a house, valued at least twice the amount of bond is also acceptable.
- Secured Appearance Bond: A secured appearance bond is similar to a secured surety bond, except it can only be paid by the defendant. This bond allows a defendant to post bail using personal or real property.
- Partially Secured Surety Bond: This type of bond allows family, friends and the defendant to pay a percentage of the bond amount in cash. However, the deposit cannot exceed 10% of the total amount.
- Partially Secured Appearance Bond: A partially secured appearance bond is like a partially secured surety bond, except it can only be paid by the defendant.
- Unsecured Surety Bond: An unsecured surety bond does not require cash or property. Instead, family, friends or a defendant must sign a legal agreement with the court stating they will pay the full bond amount if the defendant does not appear for future court dates.
- Unsecured Appearance Bond: This type of bond is like an unsecured surety bond except the agreement can only be signed by the defendant.
- Credit Card: Anyone can pay the entire bail amount with a credit card, but only a judge can approve this option. The defendant is required to be present at the courthouse when this type of payment is made. Also, this option is not available if bail is set at more than $2,500.
Remember; you have no choice in which bail options you are granted. While one method may work for you, a judge may decide to choose a completely different option. It’s crucial you retain legal counsel if you or someone you know is about to appear for an arraignment. An attorney can argue with the judge on a feasible bond amount and payment option.
Changes Coming to Bail Practices in New York
New Yorkers caught on to the unfair practices of bail. Many believed having to pay hefty amounts to get out of jail unfairly targets the poor, which pushed state legislatures to reform bail procedures in the state.
In April 2019, New York passed sweeping criminal justice legislation that included drastically reducing the use of money bonds. The new regulations will not take effect until January 2020, but you can expect to see the following changes:
- Elimination for money bail for misdemeanor crimes, excluding misdemeanor sex offenses and contempt charges for an order of protection violation. Straight pretrial detention will also be eliminated.
- Money bail and pretrial detention will be eliminated for almost all nonviolent felonies
- Money bail and pretrial detention will remain in effect for almost all violent felonies with a few exceptions for second-degree burglary and robbery.
- Money bail and detention will be eliminated for all class A drug felonies except for operating as a major trafficker
In cases where bail is permissible, a judge will be required to consider the defendant’s financial situation when determining bail. They will also be required to offer three types of bail as opposed to two, and one option must be either a partially secured surety or appearance bond. If you remember; this type of bond allows a defendant, a family member or friend to pay only 10% of the bond amount.
Bail in New York State – View a PDF presented by the Katal Center for Health, Equity and Justice to learn more about bail in New York. You can learn about the role of a defense attorney during the process, the difference between bail and bond and how a bail amount can be reduced.
Components of New York's Bail Reform – Follow the link provided to learn more about the future changes to bail in the Empire State. You can learn more about the changes mentioned in the section above and find out if a judge will be able to release more defendants while their case is pending.
Criminal Defense Lawyer in Garden City
It’s crucial you have legal representation during an arraignment. A criminal defense lawyer can represent you and fight to have you released without bail. Stephanie Selloni has been helping clients through the criminal justice process for over a decade. She is well respected in the legal community and prepared to fight on your behalf.
Take the first step in your defense and contact Law Office of Stephanie Selloni. You can call 516-972-1212 to schedule a time to speak with Ms. Selloni. Some of the areas we serve include Garden City, Yonkers and Melville.