New York City Bail Information

PURPOSE OF BAIL

Throughout the boroughs of New York City, a judge may decide to set bail at your arraignment. A judge generally sets bail in one of two ways. Bail is set in cash or in bond. The legal purpose of setting bail is so that a judge can "guarantee" the accused returns to court. In other words, the money is used as an incentive to the defendant to return to court. If the accused returns as required even if convicted after trial, most or all of the money is returned. If the accused fails to come to court, then the monies will not be returned. Unfortunately, although the legal purpose of bail is to make sure a defendant returns to court, prosecutors often seek bail as a means to force a plea if the bail is so much that an accused cannot post the money and remains incarcerated.

CASH OR BOND

While cash bail is an easy concept to understand (you post or present corrections with the bail amount in cash and the defendant is released shortly thereafter), a friend or family member posting the bail does not literally have to pay cash. For example, the Department of Corrections will accept cashier's checks and money orders from the U.S Post Office, Western Union, a bank or other sources up to $1000. Multiple money orders may be used to reach the total dollar amount.

Unlike cash bail, a bond is different. A bail bondsman, instead of a friend or family member, accepts the responsibility of making a defendant returns to court as required. They do so not by escorting the accused, but by agreeing with the city that he will cover the amount of the bond if the defendant does not return. Obviously, the bail bondsman has enormous risks and, therefore, there is a premium that a defendant must pay for this service.

Most bail bondsmen charge clients a non returnable fee of 10% of the total bond. For example, if the bond is $100,000, a non returnable fee paid to the bondsmen would be $10,000. Additionally, they may require that you secure the bond with more money or property or that other people guarantee the loan. Because of the enormous financial burden involved in paying a bond, it is imperative that before you agree to pay a bail bondsman, you consult with an attorney who may be able to direct you on how to find an honest and trustworthy bail bondsmen. Ultimately, the decision is that of the accused and his or her family.

POSTING BAIL AND GETTING RELEASED

Cash bail can be posted at any jail even if the person you are posting for is incarcerated elsewhere. However, the check or money order must be made payable to the jail where it is being presented and posted. Do not make the check payable to the Department of Corrections as it will not be accepted. When bail is posted, the person who does so must not only have their identification, but must be provide the defendant's New York State Identification Number (NYSID), a unique number assigned to one particular person. Ask your attorney for this identification number.

The following is a list of addresses for correctional facilities in New York where bail may be posted:

  • Bronx House of Detention - 653 River Avenue, Bronx, NY 10451

  • Brooklyn House of Detention - 275 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11201

  • Manhattan House of Detention (The Tombs) - 125 White Street, New York, NY 10013

  • Queens House of Detention - 126-02 82nd Avenue, Queens, NY 11415

  • Riker's Island - 11-11 Hazen Avenue, East Elmhurst, NY 11370

If you need help with bail related matters, contact us online or call (212) 312-7129 today.

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