Arraignments & Bail Reduction


Why You Should Hire An Attorney For Your Arraignment

The first appearance before the court is called an arraignment. At the arraignment, the judge can impose bail if you are charged with a qualifying offense. Bail is the amount of security (cash, secured bond, partially secured bond, or unsecured bond) a court requires a defendant to post prior to that person being released from custody. The purpose of bail in New York state courts is to ensure that a defendant returns for all his or her future court appearances. And a judge must impose the “least restrictive conditions” which will ensure a defendant returns to court.

At the arraignment on qualifying offenses, the District Attorney will usually request bail. It is the job of your criminal defense attorney to argue for no bail or a reduced bail based on various circumstances. A judge will consider many factors when determining bail, including the nature of the charges, the defendant’s activities and history, the defendant’s record of missing court dates to avoid prosecution, and the defendant’s criminal conviction record. A judge must also consider a person’s ability post bail without posing an undue hardship. Having retained an attorney, rather than appearing with assigned counsel, may also demonstrate to the judge that you’re taking your case seriously and are more likely to return to court.

Being released from custody after your arraignment – either on bail, on your own recognizance, or with other conditions – is important and may have a dramatic effect on the outcome of the criminal matter. A defendant who is at liberty can more meaningfully assist his or her attorney in the defense of the criminal case.

If cash bail is set, it is up to a defendant’s friends or family members to post bail. The bail itself is some type of security that has a monetary value – either cash or bond. If a bond is posted, there must be collateral to secure the bond, often something like a house. The attorneys of Pappalardo & Pappalardo, LLP can arrange to have a licensed bail bondsman at your arraignment.

Bail Reduction After Arraignment

If you have already been arraigned and bail has been set, in New York state courts it is possible to later have a bail reduction hearing. The legal standard the court uses in determining whether a reduction in bail is warranted is whether or not there has been a change in circumstances. This means that after the initial arraignment, some new information has come to light or a “change in circumstance” has occurred.

If that happens, your criminal defense attorney can make an application to the court to have a bail hearing. At the hearing, your criminal defense attorney presents the new information to the court, and usually the District Attorney argues against the motion. The court evaluates the arguments by both sides and, if the judge agrees with your criminal defense attorney, may find that there is a “change in circumstances” so that the court will lower, reduce, or eliminate the bail.

Free Consultation If You Have Been Arrested for Any Criminal Matter

Contact our attorneys for a free consultation as soon as possible if you have been arrested in a criminal matter in New York or federal court. From our centrally located offices near the courthouses in Westchester and New York City, we serve clients throughout Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Rockland, or any upstate county and in federal courts.