When people are arrested in New York, they may need to post bail for their release. The arresting officer determines whether to give them a ticket and release them or to take them into custody.
When people are jailed, they will often have to wait for a period of time for a court to officially set a bail amount. Some factors that go into the setting of bail include the charges involved and facts about the person. For example, it may be considered whether or note the charge is a violent offense, whether the defendant is likely to flee, or whether the defendant has been convicted of similar crimes before.
At times, a defendant can be held without bail. These situations can involve a clear threat, allegations that carry a life sentence, or defendants who could easily flee the jurisdiction. There may also be conditions imposed on bail releases, including surrendering weapons or mandatory drug testing.
In order to secure release, the bail amount must be paid to the court by cash, money order, cashier's check or an equity bond in real property. Once it has been paid, a release order will be issued. Many people cannot pay the full amount but instead seek the service of a bail bond agent. A bail bondsman will charge a fee, usually 10 or 20 percent of the total bail amount. If the defendant does not appear, the surety will have to forfeit the amount of the bond.
Criminal defense lawyers can be active in the bail process on behalf of their clients. For example, they can argue for a significant reduction in bail as well as helping to manage the bail process for a client's release.