One of the first questions our New York and Westchester County criminal defense lawyers hear from our clients is, What is bail and how do I obtain it? Bail is the amount of money which courts require you to post to stay out of jail while your criminal case is proceeding towards trial.
Typically, for low-level crimes (like a first-time DWI), most judges will set no bail or a relatively low bail (ranging anywhere from zero to $10,000 at the very most).
The only exception to this rule are cases where the person is detained by immigration and customs enforcement (see our section on Immigration and ICE Holds), if the court is unsure about the person's true identity, or where there's anything which may cause the judge to have safety concerns (e.g. domestic violence cases).
In most serious felony cases, like cases involving a death or serious drug offenses, the court will sometimes refuse to set bail at all, or will set such an astronomically high bail that it will be impossible to raise it.
The process of bail is simple.
A bail hearing takes place at the very first court appearance, following the Arraignment.
At the bail hearing, our Westchester, Manhattan and Fairfield County criminal defense lawyers will present arguments on your behalf as to why a reasonable bail should be granted.
The main question is whether you are a flight risk.
Our Manhattan, Stamford and White Plains criminal defense lawyers will educate you that the most relevant questions related to bail are:
- Your immigration status;
- Your long-term ties to the community;
- Whether you have a family;
- Whether you have a stable job;
- Whether you have a long-term means of support;
- The seriousness of the offense you committed; and
- Any evidence to suggest you were a flight risk in the past.
Conversely, the prosecutor will present their own evidence that the person is a flight risk and therefore that a very high bail should be set.
After hearing arguments from both sides, the judge will make a decision as to whether to set bail, and if so, how much.
Bail can generally be obtained through a bail bondsman.
A bail bondsman will generally post bail on the person's behalf, but only if they determine it’s safe to do so.
Typically, a bail bondsman will request a 10% non-refundable fee from you.
At the Law Offices of Stewart A. McMillan, we typically refer our clients to Ira Juddelson Bail Bonds in New York and to Moore Bail Bonds in Stamford, Connecticut because of our long-term relationships with each, but there are a number of good bail bondsmen in the area.
Accordingly, if you or someone you know has been arrested in any of the jurisdictions in which we operate, including Manhattan, the Bronx and Queens, as well as the Connecticut Courts, like Stamford, Norwich, Greenwich, Westport, Ridgefield, New Haven, Danbury, Wilton or the Westchester County Jurisdictions, like Mount Vernon, Rye, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, Ossining, Irvington, Port Chester, Greenburgh, Mount Kisco, Harrison, Somers, Katonah or Elmsford, do not hesitate to contact our experienced Manhattan, Fairfield and Westchester County criminal defense attorneys immediately. The telephone call is free and our attorneys are standing by 24/7 to assist you.