Bail is a security (cash or a bond) given by the Accused promising s/he will appear and answer before Court the accusation brought against her/him. The money posted as bail is used as an incentive and if the Accused fails to report for Court the money is kept by the Court. If however, the Accused makes all his/her Court appearances the money is returned regardless of the final outcome.
Within 24 hours after an arrest, the Defendant is brought before a judge where a bail determination is made. The most common criteria used to determine whether bail is set and the amount of the bail are:
- Is the Defendant a flight risk? that is, does s/he have the ways and means to leave the jurisdiction?
- Is the Defendant a long time resident of the jurisdiction with ties to the community such as family, property ownership and employment?
- Is the Defendant a threat to the public safety or to any specific person(s)?
- The severity of the alleged criminal act and,
- The criminal history of the Defendant.
The Judge will set the amount of bail and typically, the amounts can vary for Cash or Bond bail.
Cash bail is posted at the County Jail by a friend or family member and the Defendant is released.
Bonds are posted by a Bail Bondsman who contracts with the Court guaranteeing Defendant’s return. Typically, Bail Bondsman charge 10% of the amount of the bond for this service. Therefore, if for example, the Court set bail at $10,000 cash or $20,000 bond, the Defendant can either post the $10,000 cash directly or, hire a Bondsman for a fee of $2,000 (10% of $20,000), the difference is that the $2,000 is a non-refundable fee whereas the $10,000 cash bail is returnable at the conclusion of the criminal proceedings.
In Dutchess, Ulster, Orange and Putnam counties, Bail Bondsman can be easily be found using google search. There is no criteria for selecting a Bondsman other then to talk to each one directly, get their fees and check to see if they are licensed on the New York State Department of Financial Services website under Bail bonds Active Agent Listing.