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New York Bail Law

New York Attorneys Protect Your Rights Under the New Bail Laws

New York City lawyers explain the bail reforms enacted in 2020

As of January 2020, New York judges can no longer require cash bail for most misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. A new law, called the Bail Elimination Act, ended our state’s previous system, which was found to discriminate against poorer defendants in bail determinations. As New York criminal defense attorneys, we have seen hundreds of people jailed for minor crimes because they couldn’t afford a few hundred dollars in bail money. At Gregg & Associates P.C. in Staten Island, we apply the bail reforms to the fullest extent to make sure our clients receive fair treatment if they are arrested.

How pretrial detention works if you are arrested in New York

Under the new law, courts are required to release people arrested for nonviolent offenses unless they pose a danger to the community or present a flight risk (i.e. that they will not come back to court for trial). Instead, they must be released on their own recognizance (ROR) or with non-monetary conditions, such as electronic monitoring. In either case, they are issued a desk appearance ticket requiring them to return to court on a specified date.

The outcome that you may receive at a pretrial hearing depends in large part on the crime you’re charged with:

  • Misdemeanors — Cash bail is not allowed except for sexual misdemeanors and criminal contempt in domestic violence cases. Otherwise, the judge must release you with or without non-monetary conditions. Pre-trial supervision is the most common such condition. Electronic monitoring cannot be used for most misdemeanors, unless the charge involves domestic violence or a sex offense or you were convicted of a felony in the last five years.
  • Nonviolent felonies — Cash bail is allowed for sex crimes, witness tampering, terrorism-related charges and criminal contempt in domestic violence cases. For all other nonviolent felonies, the judge must grant ROR or release you with non-monetary conditions, which can include electronic monitoring.
  • Violent felonies — Cash bail or continued pretrial incarceration is allowed for all violent felonies except second-degree burglary and second-degree robbery, which may be eligible for ROR.

Crucially, the judge cannot require purely cash bail. You must be allowed to post bail through at least two alternate methods: an unsecured bond (where you don’t have to deposit any money up-front) or a partially secured bond (where you deposit 10 percent of the bail amount). This allows you or your family to secure your release even if you can’t come up with the full cash amount.

Call our NYC criminal defense lawyers to discuss bail options

Get a free consultation with our experienced New York defense attorneys at Gregg & Associates P.C. by calling 866-308-3353 or contact us online. We’ll help you understand your options and take action to get you out of jail as quickly as possible. Our office is in Staten Island and we represent clients in all five boroughs.

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