New York State Bail Law Adjustments
In the state of New York, criminal defense laws are constantly changing – from convictions and punishable offenses, to the designation for which we give to certain crimes – the fact is that New York State is one of the most responsive when it comes to the desires of their populace, especially when it comes to criminal offenses. However, the constant change, while enacted to benefit the accused, as well as the justice system, can leave even the most knowledgeable of legal minds confused and without bits and pieces of crucial knowledge that could make the difference between a client’s freedom and a incarceration. According to Mr. Frank Galchus, the best criminal lawyer NYC has in practice, one of the most recent changes to the criminal law arena has been the new elements of bail reform. To try and understand all 20 pages of the new bail reform laws, read on below.
What is Bail & Pre-Trial Detention?
Before we examine the changes to the bail process, its important for us to understand what exactly these elements are in the first place. While many are aware or have at least heard the term “bail”, some haven’t. according to the Mr. Galchus, the best criminal lawyer NYC has to offer, the point of bail, submitting a payment in order to be released from jail, is to encourage someone who has been charged with a crime to return for their court dates. Defendants are constitutionally protected by the Eighth Amendment against excessive bail. In New York, a judge is able to consider a variety of factors when setting bail, such as prior criminal history, whether or not someone has previously returned to court and the charges against the defendant. Judges cannot directly consider the danger someone might pose to the community or other individuals when setting bail or determining whether someone should be held in jail before trial.
Essentially, bail is used as collateral and will be returned to the individual at the end of their criminal proceedings. If a person can’t post bail, they are jailed for the course of their trial. If a defendant flees after posting bail, he or she forfeits that money. Pretrial detention and bail are not meant to keep accused criminals off the streets prior to a conviction. Individuals can put up property and other belongings in place of the cash amount, as well – depending upon the wishes and allowance of the court itself.
The New Bail Laws
While bail was almost universal with most cases in the criminal court room, under the new bail laws, prosecutors can only ask for bail or pretrial detention in certain felony cases – including almost all violent felonies – and a handful of misdemeanor charges. According to Mr. Galchus, the best criminal lawyer NYC has in practice, these charges can include nearly all Class A felonies – the most serious category of crime, including murder, first-degree arson and first-degree kidnapping – are still eligible for bail or pretrial detention. So are the vast majority of felony sex offenses. Witness tampering and witness intimidation also fall under that category, as do terrorism and terrorism-related charges. Interestingly, the majority of other misdemeanors, nonviolent felonies and a couple categories of violent felonies now lead to someone being automatically released. However, a judge can impose nonmonetary conditions like electronic monitoring or travel restrictions to help ensure that someone returns to trial, if that’s considered necessary. A judge can use the same set of criteria for bail to set nonmonetary restrictions. One notable change, however, is that judges can no longer consider the strength of a case against a defendant nor the likelihood of a conviction when setting bail or nonmonetary conditions. In the past, this would prevent individuals from building their cases as best as they could had they been allowed on the outside. For more information on bail issues, and criminal law as a whole, be sure to contact Mr. Galchus today.