These are our main practice areas:
Let Us Help You Protect Your Driver’s License
If you have a legal problem, you should have legal representation. Our lawyers know the intricacies of the New York state traffic courts and how to protect your license. One ticket can be enough to lead to a suspension of your driving privileges. Failing to respond to a moving violation can also lead to the suspension of your driving privileges.
How an Attorney Could Help You
Our attorneys are familiar with the rules and practices of the New York state traffic courts and will help you navigate the courts. Our attorneys will represent you in a professional manner. Upon your request, we will appear in traffic court in your place or assist you in presenting the relevant events in a favorable light to the Administrative Law Judge assigned to hear your case. Our advice and representation can assist in you protecting you from losing your license or New York State driving privileges.
You should be aware that NOT ALL TRAFFIC COURTS PLEA BARGAIN. Many people come to New York City expecting to make a deal where they pay a fine but avoid the points – this goes against the policy of New York City’s traffic courts, as well as various other courts in New York State. Where appropriate, let our office negotiate a plea, appropriate to your charge and satisfactory to you.
Do Not Be Afraid to Fight Your Ticket
In the United States the burden is on the prosecution to prove that the defendant violated the law. This means that prior to having to defend yourself, it must be established that a violation occurred at all. That means that you do not have to be innocent to fight your traffic ticket: everyone is entitled to a defense. Our attorneys specialize in fighting traffic tickets and are expert in the nuances of the traffic law.
In most traffic courts in New York state you do not have to be present when you have an attorney appear at your hearing in your place.
Keep Your Auto Insurance Affordable
Having moving violations on your driving record will likely raise your auto insurance prices. Insurance companies expect to be kept informed regarding the health of your license. Insurers generally want to know about auto damage claims, accidents, major violations, and minor violations for up to 5 years back. Legal representation to secure a better disposition will help protect against increases in insurance rates.
Generally the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles does not record out-of-state violations committed by NYS drivers in other jurisdiction. The exceptions are alcohol-related violations, drug-related violations, and moving violations committed in Quebec or Ontario. Under special agreements, traffic convictions in Quebec or Ontario are recorded on NYS driver license records and carry points. Except for violations in Ontario and Quebec, points are not added to your NYS record for out-of-state violations.
If you do not respond to a ticket or fail to pay a fine for a moving violation that you committed in any state except Alaska, California, Michigan, Montana, Oregon or Wisconsin, the Department of Motor Vehicles suspends your New York State driver license until you respond to the ticket or pay the fine. If a driver from a state except these six states fails to respond to a traffic ticket issued in NYS, their driver license will be suspended until the driver responds to the traffic ticket in NYS.
Drivers from other states must contact the DMV in their home state to get information about the effect of a traffic violation conviction that occurs in NYS.
We Fight Tickets Anywhere in New York State
The points system:
Your license starts out without any points. It is within the discretion of the Administrative Law Judges of the Department of Motor Vehicles Traffic Violations Bureau to suspend your license at any point, with the chance growing increasingly likely at and over 11 points with any 18-month period, no matter how long ago that period was.
|(mph over posted limit)|
|1 to 10||3|
|11 to 20||4|
|21 to 30||6|
|31 to 40||8|
|Reckless Driving (6 mos. Suspension)||5|
|Failing to Stop for School Bus||5|
|Following Too Closely (tailgating)||4|
|Failing to Yield Right of Way||3|
|Disobeying Traffic Control Device||2|
|Disobeying Stop sign or Yield Sign||3|
|Railroad Crossing Violation||3|
|Improper Passing or Lane Use||3|
|Failing to wear seat belt – Adult||0|
|Failing to properly restrain child (<10 in rear, <4 in child seat)||3|
|Any other Moving Violation||2|
Suspension or revocations of driving privilege occur in New York State automatically when an individual is found Guilty of three (3) speeds within eighteen (18) months.
Cell Phone Law
New York State has passed a law that does not allow you to use a hand-held mobile telephone while you drive. You can be charged with illegal cell phone use, if you use a hand-held mobile telephone while you drive (or even while the car is on), except to call 911 or to contact medical, fire or police personnel about an emergency, you can receive a traffic ticket and pay a minimum fine of $50 and mandatory surcharges of $80.
The DMV currently assigns five driver violation points; older violations may carry fewer points.
The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) is the agency responsible for licensing and regulating New York City’s medallion (yellow) taxicabs, for-hire vehicles (liveries and black cars), commuter vans, paratransit vehicles (ambulettes) and some luxury limousines. The Hon. Matthew W. Daus is the Chair of the TLC.
The TLC licenses and regulates over 50,000 vehicles and approximately 100,000 drivers, performs safety and emissions inspections of approximately 12,000 medallion taxicabs three times each year, and holds numerous hearings for violations of City and TLC rules and regulations. It is the most active taxi and limousine licensing regulatory agency in the United States.
To find out more about the TLC, or to review the agency’s procedures, rules and regulations and programs, you may review the constantly updated information available throughout this web site, or you may call the TLC’s Customer Service Hotline at 311.
You should be aware of the TLC’s Critical Driver Program. According to TLC guidelines, holders of both Taxicab Operators and FHV (For Hire Vehicle) licenses may be suspended if they have accrued six or more DMV license points within 15 months, and revoked if they have accrued ten or more DMV points within 15 months. If you are thinking of retaining a lawyer, it is important that you do so prior to the hearing rather than after you have a negative outcome. Generally, all suspensions and revocations are preceded by a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. Upon review, if the total number of points meets either the six or ten-point thresholds, the appropriate action, whether suspension or revocation, is then taken. The TLC is not limited by considering only those violations taking place in the context of TLC-licensed activity.
If you have a hearing with the TLC it may be at one of several addresses. The Legal Department is located at: 40 Rector Street, New York, New York, 10006 on the fifth floor. The department is open 9:00 am to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, by appointment only. Please call (212) 676-1135 for appointments.
It is important to appear at all TLC hearings to avoid additional penalties. According to TLC rules, respondents can request reschedules 5 days or more in advance of hearings, for cause. In additon, it is important to bring your TLC license to hearings to avoid additional charges.
In New York City pink tickets are given out for low level violations, including some misdemeanors. Including: Open alcoholic container in public, Urinating in public, Disorderly Conduct, Reckless Driving. In Manhattan hearings are held at 346 Broadway Criminal Court or 314 54th Street, as indicated on the face of the ticket. In many cases these tickets can be reduced to less serious or lower or no point charges through plea bargaining.
Our firm also specializes in representing drivers in DWI charges, assisting from the time of arrest until final disposition. Our attorneys can also help with Safety Hearings resulting from automotive accidents or significant points. We can also help avoid the suspension of operating privileges and sometimes save you money.
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is a crime. In NYS, the penalties include the loss of driving privileges, fines, and a possible jail term.
Your judgment, coordination and ability to drive a vehicle change when you consume any amount of alcohol. The level of impairment depends on five conditions:
- the amount of alcohol you drink,
- the amount of food you eat before or while you drink alcohol,
- the length of time you drink alcohol,
- your body weight, and
- your gender.
There is no quick method to become sober. The best method is to wait until your body absorbs the alcohol. The average rate that your body processes alcohol is approximately one drink per hour. Generally 1 drink equals 1 ounce of 100-proof liquor, one five ounce glass of table wine or one 12-ounce bottle of regular beer. Most people need about one hour to metabolize one drink.
If a police officer believes you are intoxicated, you will be arrested and requested to take a BAC test. If convicted you will face a substantial fine, license revocation, higher insurance costs, legal fees and a possible jail sentence. (See Section 1192, NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law) If you refuse to take the BAC test your license will be suspended by DMV at arraignment and later there is the possibility that it may be revoked at a hearing. You are also subject to a civil penalty of $200-500. (Section 1194, NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law)
The alcohol and drug-related violations in New York State are as follows:
DWI: Driving While Intoxicated; .08 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or higher or other evidence of intoxication.
DWAI: Driving While Ability Impaired (by alcohol); .05 BAC to .07 BAC, or other evidence of impairment.
DWAI / Drugs: Driving While Ability Impaired (by a drug that is not alcohol).
Chemical Test Refusal: A driver who refuses to take a chemical test (normally a test of breath, blood or urine) can receive a driver license revocation and must pay a $300 civil penalty ($350 for a driver of commercial vehicles) to apply for a new driver license. A driver who refuses a chemical test during the five years after a DWI-related charge will have their driver license revoked for one year and must pay a $750 civil penalty to apply for a new driver license.
Zero Tolerance Law: A driver who is less than 21 years of age and who drives with a .02 BAC to .07 BAC violates the Zero Tolerance Law.
Penalties for Alcohol-related and Drug-related Violations
|Violation||Mandatory Fine (1)||Maximum Jail Term||Mandatory Driver License Action (2)|
|Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)||$500 – $1,000||1 year||Revoked for at least six months|
|Second DWI violation in 10 years (E felony)||$1,000 – $5,000||4 years||Revoked for at least one year|
|Third DWI violation in 10 years (D felony)||$2,000 – $10,000||7 years||Revoked for at least one year|
|Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI)||$300 – $500||15 days||Suspended for 90 days|
|Second DWAI violation in 5 years||$500 – $750||30 days||Revoked for at least six months|
|Zero Tolerance Law||$125 civil penalty and $100 fee to terminate suspension||None||Suspended for six months|
|Second Zero Tolerance Law||$125 civil penalty and $100 re-application fee||None||Revoked for one year or until age 21|
|Chemical Test Refusal||$300 civil penalty ($350 for commercial drivers)||None||Revoked for at least six months|
|Chemical Test Refusal within five years of a previous DWI-related charge||$750 civil penalty||None||Revoked for at least one year|
|Chemical Test Refusal – Zero Tolerance Law||$300 civil penalty and $50 re-application fee||None||Revoked for at least one year|
|Chemical Test Refusal – Second or subsequent Zero Tolerance Law||$750 civil penalty and $50 re-application fee||None||Revoked for at least one year|
|Driving Under the Influence – (Out-of-State)||N/A||N/A||Revoked at least 90 days. If less than 21 years of age, revoked at least one year.|
|Driving Under the Influence – (Out-of State) with any previous alcohol-drug violation||N/A||N/A||Revoked at least 90 days. If less than 21 years of age, revoked at least one year or until age 21 (longest term).|
- Surcharges are added to misdemeanors ($160) and felonies ($270).
- The driver license penalties for drivers under the age of 21 and for professional drivers are different.
If you receive your first conviction for DWI or DWAI and you participate in the Drinking Driver Program (DDP), you can usually receive a conditional license. The DMV determines if you are eligible for the DDP. A judge can stop your enrollment in the DDP.
Consequences of DWI conviction can result in prison, fines, loss of driving privileges, increased or canceled car insurance, lost job opportunities, as well as significant personal impact. Many employers will not hire you if you have a drunk driving conviction in your driver’s history. Some companies go back a certain number of years. Others look back as far as your state’s driver’s history will report a record. Each state’s drivers history is different.
Being convicted of a DWI may cause your insurance rates to go up or worse. Whether your rates go up depends on whether your insurance company finds out about your arrest and what its rules are for drivers who are arrested for a DUI.
Insurance companies generally check motor vehicle records on their policyholders every three years, so a DUI arrest might go unnoticed. Their focus is generally on convictions (pleading or being found guilty of charges) rather than on DUI charges alone. However, even if your insurance company does notice your DUI, there’s no guarantee that it would cancel your policy or raise your insurance rates. Rules vary by insurance company but insurers say they generally look at a policyholder’s total driving record and claims history when considering what penalty, if any, they will assess for a DUI.
The DMV has administrative control over noncriminal traffic cases to relieve the backlogs of courts in certain jurisdictions. Pursuant to Vehicle and Traffic Law Article 2-A, the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles has established a system for the administrative adjudication of moving traffic infractions which are civil in nature (15 NYCRR Part 121.5). In each jurisdiction in which the program is established, the Commissioner has located one or more Traffic Violations Bureaus (“TVB”) staffed with Motor Vehicle Violations Bureau Referees (MVRs), supervisors and clerical personnel. TVB are established within the cities of New York, Buffalo, Rochester and the five western townships of Suffolk County. In localities where the caseload is more manageable, regular traffic courts handle noncriminal traffic cases.
Vehicle and Traffic Law §236 requires that all MVRs be attorneys. An MVR may issue subpoenas to compel the appearance of witnesses and the production of documents and is authorized to “enter judgments and enforce them, . . . in the same manner as the enforcement of money judgments in civil actions in any court of competent jurisdiction.”(Vehicle & Traffic Law Section 237). MVRs conduct original hearings for all non-misdemeanor moving violations which occur in their jurisdiction including cases involving fatal accidents, chemical test refusals, persistent violators, drivers with physical or mental disabilities and charges of driving with a suspended license or revoked license and driving without insurance. Further, MVRs conduct safety hearings and investigate charges of violations of the Vehicle and Traffic Law and the Commissioner’s regulations by commercial establishments such as repair shops, inspection stations and dealers.
This is the DMV Administrative Hearing to determine whether a motorist refused to take a lawful blood alcohol test at the time of the car stop. Should it be established that the driver refused to take a blood alcohol test that was offered in a timely manner, with proper warnings, where there was probable cause for the car stop, the Court will order a 12 month revocation of the driver license. This is true even if the DWI charges are not pursued in criminal court.
These Hearings are held at 19 Rector St., 2nd Fl.
Commercial trucking Companies must have legal representation in Criminal Court. Fines for moving violations, including overweight tickets can be thousands of dollars, let us help you get the best representation possible.
More legal information:
- An Arraignment Step by Step
- Misdemeanor Case General Guidelines
- Felony Case General Guidelines
Upon arrest in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, or Staten Island, he or she may be held for approximately 24 hours prior to appearing in court at arraignment.
An arraignment is not a trial or a hearing.
No witnesses are called at an arraignment.
No evidence is heard at an arraignment.
The police officer need not appear for arraignment.
The complaining witness need not appear for arraignment.
The guilt or innocence of the person accused is NOT decided at arraignment.
The accused will usually not even be asked to speak (the lawyer speaks on his behalf).
From the accused’s point of view, an arraignment is really about one thing, and one thing only – whether or not the judge will set bail, and if so, how much. OK that’s really two things. But the point is that although other things happen at an arraignment, the most obvious and significant thing is the decision to set or not set bail.
If the judge doesn’t set bail, that is called “release on recognizance” or ROR for short. Someone who is ROR’d is released simply on his promise that he will return to court on the date set by the judge.
If the judge does set bail, the accused is held in jail until one of the following things happens:
The case is over
Someone makes the bail by giving New York City the amount of money to hold until the case is over.
The bail is reduced by another judge (and then paid)
If the case is a misdemeanor, the case is not “converted” to an information within 5 days of the arraignment (meaning in most cases that the complaining witness has signed the complaint or the lab report is filed in drug cases)
If the case is a felony, the case is not formally indicted within either the statutory 188 hour (6 day) period or whatever “waiver” period is set at arraignment
If someone “makes bail” but fails to return to court when told to do so by the judge, New York City gets to keep the money (and the police start looking for the person). Bail bond companies will (for a fee) agree to post larger bail amounts for you, but the fees that you pay them will never be returned to you. Their fee is the cost of them being willing to put up the full bail amount and take the risk that the accused will return to court. If a bail bond company posts a bail bond and the accused fails to appear, New York City will take the amount of the bond from the bail bond company. To find out more about bail bonds, click here to be taken to our page just about bail bonds in New York City.
If the bail is so high that friends and family can’t make it, and the friends and family also can’t afford a bail bond, the accused could stay in jail for as long as it takes to work the case out. If it will take one year to get the case ready for trial, then the person will remain in jail for one year.
Also at the arraignment, the accused will be informed (through his criminal defense lawyer) of the precise charges against him. Often times the police will exaggerate or understate the actual charges against a person during the arrest to arraignment process. Some officers, it seems, appear to delight in providing misinformation to the people they arrest. People who are ultimately accused of B felony drug sales for which they face 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison are often told, for example, that they are simply being arrested for a misdemeanor or that it will be no big deal. Sometimes people who ultimately are charged with misdemeanors are told that they are being charged with ultra-serious felonies for which they face decades in jail.
Arraignments offer the accused the opportunity to hear the truth about the charges from a source they can trust. The bottom line is that an accused should never believe anything a police officer tells him in the time period from arrest to arraignment. The incredible level of misinformation and downright lies told to people accused of crimes before they meet with their lawyers for the first time is frankly astounding.
- Calling of the case – the “bridge officer” or the court officer whose job it is to organize and call the cases into the calendar will announce the case usually by calling out the docket number and then the name of the accused like “People against John Smith”.
- Once the case is called in the police will bring the accused out from behind the courtroom to the place in front of the judge where they have the defendants stand. The defense attorney will be standing next to the defendant and the prosecutor will be standing off to either the right or the left depending on the custom of the county. Everyone will be face the judge.
- The bridge officer will then usually ask the defense lawyer whether he “waives the reading” to which custom in New York City makes the answer “yes.” The defense lawyer has the power to force a detailed public reading of the accusations, but tradition in New York City is that such a public reading is dispensed with in favor of simply getting on with it. A refusal to waive the reading is considered a serious breach of etiquette.
- The judge will then usually take a minute or so to review the file and then ask the prosecutor for “notices”. This is the signal for the prosecutor to provide certain required formal notices that may be required by law or custom at the arraignment. These notices can take a number of different forms. The defense lawyer may return some “cross” notices in a seemingly confusing exchange of paperwork.
Cash bail is simply the amount of cash that you must present to any jail in New York City (24 hours a day) in order to obtain the release of the accused while his case progresses. The good news is, that as long as the accused makes all of his court appearances, you will get all (or nearly all) of your money back. The city, never missing an opportunity to capture some revenue, keeps a piece of the action. (The keeping of this small percentage of the bail has actually been challenged in court, but upheld by
A bail bond is a promise by a special company like an insurance company to pay the city the amount of the bond if the accused fails to come back to court. When a bail bond company agrees to post a bond for an accused, they are agreeing to guarantee his presence in court.
The good news with a bail bond is that bail bond companies are often times willing to post substantial bail bonds for people for far less than 100% of the bond. In fact, most bail bondsmen will write bonds for about 10% of the value of the bond. For example, if the bond is written for $15,000, you could probably find a bondsman who would only charge you about $1500. They will typically require, however, that you post additional cash for them to hold, and will require that a number of people guarantee to reimburse them if the accused fails to return and they lose the bond amount.
The bad news with a bail bond, is that, unlike with cash bail, you will not get the money you put down back. The money you give the bail bondsman is the fee he charges to write the bond. You will get back any additional security the bondsman requires, but that fee is gone forever.
Other New York Bail Bondsmen can be found usually in offices nearby.
Toward the end of the arraignment, after the prosecutor and the defense lawyer have made their arguments, the judge may say a few words and then finish with the phrase (or something like it) “Bail is $2500 over $1500” or “$2500 A or B”. This is the most typical way of setting bail.
The two types of bail the judge is referring to are the two most common forms of bail — cash or insurance company bail bond (or more simply bail bond).
According to the Department of Corrections web site: the New York City Department of Corrections will accept the following forms of cash bail:
- United States cash for the full amount
- Cashier’s/Tellers’ checks, in any amount not greater than the bail amount
- Bank money order, up to $1000
- Federal Express money order, up to $1000
- U.S. Postal money order, up to $1000
- Travelers Express Company money order, up to $1000
- Western Union money order, up to $1000
- Check issued by the city Finance Administrator for a bail refund. (There is no $1000 maximum but the check must not exceed the amount of the new bail.)
- Veterans Administration Check up to $1000
- U.S. Government checks, up to $1,000
- Cash in combination with any of the above for the total amount of the bail
NOTE: The $1000 limits noted above apply to an individual instrument only. They are not meant to prohibit multiple instruments. For example, the City will accept FIVE bank money orders for $1000 each in payment for a $5000 bail. The total of the checks, however, must not exceed the amount of the bail.
It is best to pay bail at the correctional facility where the person is being held; however, bail may be paid at any of the following correctional facilities. For further information on inmates, bail, visiting hours, and travel directions call (718) 546-0700.
Bronx House of Detention
653 River Avenue, Bronx, NY 10451
Brooklyn House of Detention
275 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Manhattan House of Detention (The Tombs)
125 White Street, New York, NY 10013
Queens House of Detention
126-02 82nd Avenue, Queens, NY 11415
11-11 Hazen Avenue, East Elmhurst, NY 11370
A defendant can be released from the courtroom, if you post bail when the person actually appears before the court. Notify the court clerk of your intention to pay bail. The clerk will direct you to the cashier’s office in that county.
The person posting bail must present personal identification and must provide the New York State Identification (NYSID) Number of the person to be bailed. (Be sure to get this information from the attorney who handles the arraignment). Another form of bail can involve presenting a piece of property to the city. This form of bail usually comes up in cases in which the bail is extraordinarily high. Typically, it will not be initially set at the arraignment, but will be requested by an attorney by way of writ or negotiation with the prosecutor and consent of a judge.
The property will sometimes be required to have double the equity of the amount of the bail. For example, if the bail is $50,000, the property will have to have $100,000.
Judges usually set two forms of bail at arraignment. There is some authority that judges are required to set at least two forms of bail at arraignment, although many judges these days disagree and will set CASH ONLY bail.
If the judge at arraignments sets CASH ONLY bail, then the only way to bail out the accused is to post the full amount of the bail with the city. If the judge sets CASH ONLY bail, then you cannot go to a bail bondsman to get the accused out of jail. Because the law is fairly clear that CASH ONLY bail is usually improper, a lawyer can take a writ of habeas corpus and essentially “appeal” the setting of only one form of bail. Writs in these circumstances are often successful, but represent a delay of 1 to 3 days or more before they can be heard.
When judges set a bond amount as well as a cash amount, you will often find that the bond amount is significantly higher than the cash amount. That’s because judges are aware of how bail bonds work. They know that bail bondsmen will write bonds for considerably less up front than the full amount of the bond. Therefore, many judges will set the bond amount at a level where the amount of the cash alternative will be about the amount a bail bondsman would require anyway.
For example, if the cash bail amount is $5000, the bond amount that would be set might be between $10,000 and $15,000. Although the bond fee might be considerably less than $5000, most bondsmen would probably want about $5000 in cash to hold until the conclusion of the case.
The first principle, before all others, is that you probably ought to make bail or bond for someone you care about who is in jail as soon as possible.
This may sound obvious, but there are circumstances when friends and family members may be angry at the accused for having gotten himself into a bad situation, probably against the advice of friends or family to begin with. Occasionally friends and family may be under the mistaken impression that delaying the bail-out process will teach some kind of lesson.
Well-meaning frustrated parents often fall into the trap of “It might wake him up to spend some time in jail”. Parents who want to teach with tough love are probably better off bailing the child out and attempting just about anything else to teach the child a lesson. Drive him up to the top of a tall mountain and make him hike home with a 50 pound backpack. Jail is a horrible brutal incredibly dangerous place.
General Guideline to govern this situation: few lessons worth learning were ever learned in jail.
Bail varies widely from judge to judge or depend simply on the judge’s mood on a particular day. Nevertheless, there are certain very broad, very general rules of thumb.
Range = $0 – $5000 : With some exceptions, first arrest misdemeanor cases can probably bet on a much lower range with a fairly decent expectation of $0 or ROR. For those with prior criminal histories, it is still possible to obtain ROR but it becomes increasingly unlikely as the number of prior cases increases. Bail beyond $5000 for a misdemeanor is extremely rare. If you want to be prepared to make bail right at the arraignment immediately, and you can afford it, you might want to have $1500 in cash available (assuming you are comfortable carrying this amount of money in court). That should be sufficient to handle most circumstances where the charges are solely misdemeanors.
Felonies are more difficult to suggest general guidelines because some felonies are far more serious than others.
For the most serious felonies, (A felonies) judges oftentimes refuse to set any bail at all. This is called REMAND. Occasionally judges can be convinced to set some bail on such cases, but it will be astonishingly high (for example, $250,000). Most of the time, however, judges simply REMAND people accused of A felonies.
Judges can occasionally be convinced to release people charged with less serious felonies without any bail at all or on what might be considered “misdemeanor” bail.
Robbery and Assault (felony) cases will often generate bail in the range of $1500 – $25,000 or more depending on the seriousness of the robbery, and the defendant’s age and prior criminal history.
Realize that anyone with a prior felony criminal history who is charged with a new felony is almost certainly going to have significant bail set (meaning a likely range of $3500 – $25,000+)
A bail sufficiency hearing or surety hearing is something you might hear (typically in drug or fraud cases) the judge say at the conclusion of the arraignment when he sets bail.
That will add an extra layer or two of difficulty to getting the person out of jail. That means that before the city will accept bail for the accused, there must be a hearing (or the prosecutors must informally agree) to make sure that the money being used has a legitimate source.
The idea of the bail sufficiency hearing was developed to respond to the fear that large scale drug dealers would simply use their illegal profits to obtain release from custody. Of course the prosecutors have taken the bail sufficiency hearing and bled its use into other areas and types of cases.
What will happen is that the person who wants to make the bail will be required to show that the money came from a legitimate source (for example, that he has a job, assets, and/or bank accounts that would reasonably exist for someone engaged in a legitimate activity). The person who shows up with a garbage bag full of $100,000 cash who is unemployed and unable to explain how he got the money is likely going to be out of luck at such a hearing. These hearings are usually something that can be avoided after negotiations with the prosecutor.
The real problem is that the bail sufficiency hearing will delay the release process because the hearing must be scheduled. The corrections department is supposed to automatically produce the defendant to the courtroom as soon as the bail is tentatively posted, but this is often a confused and frustrating experience for the defendant, and the defendant’s friends and family. You are best off obtaining the assistance of a lawyer.
Want to learn more about how we can help you as a client?