What to Do When Someone is Arrested

Bail In New York & Federal Courts

Cash bail is merely the sum of money that is presented to any jail in New York City to secure the release of the accused while a case is in progress. Assuming the accused appears at all required court appearances, the cash bail (or at least most of it) will be returned to the person who posted the bail. A bail bond is a guarantee by a bond company to pay the amount of the bond if the accused fails to appear at the required court appearances. In a nutshell, the bail bond company has agreed to financially guarantee the accused’s presence in court.

The two types of bail the judge is referring to are the two most common forms of bail — cash or insurance company bail bond (or more simply bail bond).

The Department of Corrections web site states: the New York City Department of Corrections will accept the following forms of cash bail:

United States cash for the full amount Cashier’s/Tellers’ checks, in any amount not greater than the bail amount Bank money order, up to $1000 Federal Express money order, up to $1000 U.S. Postal money order, up to $1000 Travelers Express Company money order, up to $1000 Western Union money order, up to $1000 Check issued by the city Finance Administrator for a bail refund. (There is no $1000 maximum but the check must not exceed the amount of the new bail.) Veterans Administration Check up to $1000 U.S. Government checks, up to $1,000 Cash in combination with any of the above for the total amount of the bail

NOTE: The $1000 limits noted above apply to an individual instrument only. They are not meant to prohibit multiple instruments. For example, the City will accept FIVE bank money orders for $1000 each in payment for a $5000 bail. The total of the checks, however, must not exceed the amount of the bail.

Another type of bail involves using a piece of property as collateral bail until the case is resolved. Bail in the form of property typically occurs in cases where the bail is exceptionally high. Generally, it is not set at the arraignment, rather it is requested by the defense attorney through a negotiation with the prosecutor and consent of a judge.

Posting property as bail may sound like an appealing way to avoid bail bond fees. However, it is often difficult to locate a clerk who is truly versed in the details required to post property for bail.

If you are facing a bail situation, consult with your criminal defense lawyer.