New York State Bail & Bonds Explained: Part II

In our last blog post, we explained how someone who has been arrested can be released from jail on bail or bond until their next court date. So, now that the judge has decided if that person can be released, what are the next steps? Let’s review the ways one can be released from jail and we’ll explain how each option works.

Release on Your Own Recognizance (ROR)

This type of release does not require anything more than a promise to return to court which is recorded by the court reporter when you are arraigned. In addition to agreeing to return to court, the Judge has the right to place conditions on your ROR such as a curfew or that you obey any Order of Protection that may be issued. Failure to return to court or obey any condition will most certainly result in a change to your status.

Release you to a Pre-Trial Release (PTR)

PTR requires you to visit the probation office and be assigned a probation officer. There is more paper work required here and certain limitations that are designated by the judge and the Pre-Trial Release Program such as a curfew, not being able to leave the county, having an order of protection (in the case where there is a victim) or not being able to visit a specific store (in the case of larceny or robbery). Again, all these details will be recorded at your court appearance and monitored by the Pre-Trial Release Program. If you fail to abide by any of the terms of Pre-Trial Releas a warrant may be issued for your arrest or the judge may change your bail status at your next court date.

Cash Bail

Cash bail is a simple exchange of money. If the person posting bail and the defendant are both in court at the arraignment, bail can sometimes be posted right at the courthouse (cash or credit cards only as courthouse cashiers do not accept personal checks) and the defendant will be released. If they are not present at the same time, bail may be posted at the holding facility where the defendant is located. It is recommended that you call the facility in advance to make sure what types of payments are accepted and if there are any restrictions you should be aware of. Once the case is completed, the cash bail is returned to the person who paid it.

Bond

Being “bonded out” is popular because unlike cash bail where a defendant is required to post the whole amount required by the judge, a bond will only cost approximately 10% of the total bond (so if your bond is placed at $10,000, the actual cost is only $1,000). The other 90% is covered by an asset which the bond holder has a lien against until the case is concluded and the bond is released. The cost of the bond is not paid to the court nor will it be returned to the person who paid it; instead it is paid to the bail bondsman who then takes responsibility for the full amount of the bond should you not return to court as required. Think of a bond as paying a premium on an insurance policy.

So, if you can’t afford cash bail and choose to use bond instead, what do you need to do? How do you find a bail bondsman? And what are your options? We’ll explain that in our last Bail & Bonds post. However, if you or someone you know is being held in jail and is in need of criminal defense, please contact us for a free consultation. We would be happy to help and explain the options available.