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New York State Eliminates Money Bail and Pretrial Detention in Most Cases

In a sweeping reform of current laws Bail and Pretrial Detention will be eliminated in most criminal actions in New York State effective January 1, 2020.

  • Misdemeanors: With the exception of misdemeanor sex offenses and criminal contempt for violating an order of protection issued in a domestic violence case money bail and pretrial detention have been eliminated.  In addition, “remand” (straight pretrial detention) is eliminated in all misdemeanor cases.

  • Nonviolent Felonies: Both money bail and pretrial detention are eliminated in virtually all nonviolent felonies. The limited exceptions being: conspiracy to commit murder, felony criminal contempt, charges involving domestic violence, sex offenses, terrorism-related charges, witness intimidation or tampering, and a several offenses against children.

  • Violent Felonies: Money bail and detention are still permitted in almost all violent felonies. There are exceptions for specific sub-sections of burglary and robbery in the second degree.  Bail and detention are also permitted in Class A felonies, most of which also involve violence.  An important exception is that pretrial detention and bail are eliminated for all Class A drug felonies, apart from major trafficking.

Even where money bail is still permitted, the new law requires Judges to consider the accused’s financial resources when setting bail. The statute imposes new requirements designed to ensure that defendants can afford bail when it is set.  The court must always set at least three forms of bail and must include a partially secured or unsecured bond.  The new law encourages judges to release individuals while the case is pending on their own recognizance unless they pose “a risk of flight.”

For More information contact John N. Tasolides, Syosset, New York based Criminal Defense Attorney for a free consultation

at 516-682-8220 or

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