How Does Bail Work And How Is It Set?

Basically, anyone who got arrested would have an arraignment in which the charges would be formally read to them. The judge would generally read the formal charges to the person for which they were being charged and that would be when the person or their attorney, retained or not, or an attorney in the court like Legal Aid or a public defender would enter a plea of not guilty or guilty and after the arraignment, the government, meaning the prosecutor would have an opportunity to speak regarding bail. Bail is generally an amount of money or a bond that is posted to ensure the person returns to Court, so they are held in jail until they make bail. Our Westchester Criminal defense attorneys have had a lot of success in getting our clients released without bail and even having reasonable amounts of bail set, even in serious felony cases.

Depending on the charge and how serious the charge was, the Prosecutor might ask for a high bail, but our criminal defense lawyers have extensive experience in bringing factors that justify a reduction to the Court’s attention, such as good moral character and weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case. Bail is generally not supposed to be punitive, and the whole reason bails are in place is to just make sure that the defendant or the person charged returns to the court on the next court date after the arraignment. A bail would be set to make sure or secure that the person would return, although there would obviously be higher bails for more serious crimes.

Would The Person Have To Go To Court After Being Released From Jail? 

This would depend on the charges against the person and it could range anywhere from a month. I had a recent case which probably took a couple of years. It would also depend on the court system, which would have nothing to do with the attorney or even the government.

The New York City courts are usually congested, and they are very badly backlogged with cases. It could take months because cases are generally disposed of within a few months unless the case involved things like substance abuse or DWI, because in that case they would last longer. The courts generally like to see some type of compliance with programs which generally takes at least a couple of months to around three months, so once again it would depend upon on the charges. However, felony charges do tend to take longer.

What Is The Difference Between A Misdemeanor And A Felony? 

Misdemeanors are crimes and offenses, for which the person would be sentenced to a year or less than a year if they were convicted. Felonies are crimes that would require a sentence of more than one year.

Would It Be Possible To Get A Conviction Removed From The Person’s Record? 

New York does note recognize expungement, but New York State has something called sealing and partial sealing. Generally, if someone was granted an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal upon the disposition of their case, then that would mean there was a brief adjournment before the case was completely dismissed.

Depending on where the person was located, it could usually be up to six months, or it could be up to a year in certain jurisdictions and upon the dismissal, the case would get sealed. Certain violations, meaning violations that were not considered criminal offenses like harassment or disorderly conduct, would be subject to partial sealing but those would be the only instances where the person’s records would be sealed. Other than that in New York State, there would be no expungement of crimes the person was convicted of. However, for youthful offenders, the convictions are vacated and a youthful offender adjudication is substituted, which is non-criminal in nature.

Are There Special Programs, Like Diversionary Programs, Available For First Time Offenders? 

There are fairly common non-criminal dispositions for first time offenders. For example, petty larceny cases and unlawful possession of marijuana in New York, often get ACD, meaning adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, for first time offender. This would always depend on the facts of the matter but it would be more than likely that an ACD would be granted coupled with some type of service that the court and/or government recommended, which could either be community service, a class, or some other requirement in addition to the ACD. This is one example where a misdemeanor for first time offenders, or a person charged with theft for the first time, would get resolved.

For a marijuana charge, New York State has an actual built-in statute under the penal law, that under the New York CPO 170.56, it would be an automatic statutory adjournment in consultation for marijuana offenses, which would be misdemeanor offenses A and B misdemeanor offenses as well as under a 221.05 and 221.10 as well as certain felony offenses in terms of the possession of marijuana.

The 170.56 would be an automatic adjournment in contemplation of dismissal and ACDs can range from six months or maybe sometimes even less to a year. Generally, the ACD for a marijuana sentence would be for a year and a first time offender would automatically qualify for that ACD. Basically, they would be given instructions to stay out of trouble for a year so the charge would be automatically dismissed, which would be another disposition for a first time offender for marijuana charges.

For drug addicts who are in need of treatment, there is a diversion program, where the addict goes to drug Court and if they successfully complete it, the charges are usually dismissed. This is true even for felony level drug cases.

Likewise, in Westchester there is a TEST program for those arrested for patronizing a prostitute, where if the person takes an SDT test, the prosecutor will offer a reduction. Likewise, New York law now requires that prostitution convictions be vacated if there is evidence that the prostitute was a victim of human trafficking.

What Does It Mean To Be Indicted? 

This only applies to felony cases not misdemeanors. This happens after the case has been sent over to the county level from the local court and a grand jury, which would generally be a group of individuals, would hears evidence to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to find that a person committed a felony. It would not be on the same scale as a general hearing or trial because the defendant would not be present most of the time and it would really just be the prosecutor putting on the show, putting on their witness that the grand jury would listen to and there would be no judge present.

If the grand jury finds sufficient evidence to believe that a person has committed a felony, they would vote to indict, which is when the indictment happens. The grand jury would decide based on the evidence that the prosecutor presented and they would decide whether or not the prosecutor had established enough evidence to formally charge someone with a felony. The person would not get indicted for misdemeanor level crimes, because it would have to be a serious crime, meaning a felony, for which the person could be sentenced to more than a year. It would generally have to be an obviously serious crime for the grand jury to present a formal charge.

For more information on Bail And Indictment, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling 914-574-8330 today.

The Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC

Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC

The Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC, has been helping injured victims recover compensation for their injuries for over a decade. Our attorneys are members of several prestigious organizations, including: 

  • New York State Trial Lawyers Association
  • American Association for Justice
  • New York County Bar Association
  • Westchester County Bar Association

To request your free initial consultation with our team, call our New York City office at (212) 858-0503 or our White Plains office at (914) 574-8330. You can also request a case review online.

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