What is bail and how does it work?
When someone is accused of a crime, the court has the authority to place conditions on the accused’s liberty to guarantee their continued appearance in court. This proceeding, commonly referred to as a “bail hearing”, usually takes place immediately after the arraignment.
During the bail hearing, the Court can either, release the accused on their own recognizance (aka “ROR”); release the accused to the supervision of probation (aka “RUS”); set bail (an amount of money held by the Court); or remand the accused to jail pending trial.
The Court is required to consider many factors when determining whether to impose conditions on an accused’s release. These factors include the accused’s criminal record; their ties to the community; the strength of the evidence against them; the seriousness of the charged crime; and many others. Having a skilled attorney during the bail hearing can mean the difference between being released/making bail or spending additional time in jail pending trial. It is an absolute fact that defendants who can be released or who can make bail are better able to defend themselves against allegations because they are able to more actively participate in their defense. We know this, so we do everything we can to make sure our clients do not needlessly sit in jail.
If the court determines there should be bail, it will set an amount of money which must be given to the court to guarantee the accused’s continued presence at all proceedings including trial. The amount of bail depends on many of the same factors described above. The bail will be set as an amount of cash, an amount of bond or both. If cash, then you must provide that amount in cash to the Court Clerk or other designated Court Agent. Additionally, some jails now accept bail payment via credit cards. Once the case is concluded, then the money (minus a small processing charge, typically around 3%) is returned to whomever posted the cash, even if the accused is convicted of a crime.
If you cannot afford the amount of cash bail set by the Court, then you may be able to afford using a bail bondsman. A bondsman posts a “bond” rather than cash to the court, but still guarantees the money to the Court if the accused does not appear. A bondsman will typically charge a non-refundable premium (generally 10% of the bond amount) in order to post the bond to the Court. For example, if the Court sets $5,000 cash or bond as the bail amount, then a bondsmen will charge approximately $500 as their fee to post a $5,000 bond to the Court. The person posting bail will also have to provide the bondsman with a security interest in some form of collateral to guarantee the bond. A skilled defense attorney will know how and when to engage a bail bondsmen and advise you if their services will be in your best interests.
How much is this going to cost?
Since every case is different and has its own challenges, we always offer a free consultation. We prefer to do this in person so that you can meet us and we can meet you. Our success depends on mutual trust between us and our clients and there is no better way to establish that trust than meeting in person. During this consultation we will give you our assessment of your case and a quote on the costs and likely expenses.
As with most services in life, you get what you pay for. With O’Connell & Aronowitz you get an experienced and respected criminal defense team. We do not believe in defending cases “on the cheap” because cheap efforts get cheap results. But we also do not take advantage of our clients and the challenging circumstances which brought them to us. When you hire us, we will present you with a quote, advise you of all your options, and the costs, benefits and risks associated with each option. We take pride in working with our clients and their individual circumstances to come up with a defense plan that is realistic, affordable but most importantly, effective.
Speak to an experienced New York Criminal Defense attorney about your case. Contact the O’Connell and Aronowitz Criminal Defense Team at (518) 462-5601.