2022 Updates To New York’s Bail Laws

In 2019, New York altered its bail laws to ensure that Judges may only use bail as a tool to ensure that defendants return to court. The new laws even prevented judges from considering the potential harm a defendant might pose to others before setting bail.

As a result, there was a dramatic drop in the use of cash bail. It simply wasn’t used for most misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. Most are either released on their own recognizance or are released with conditions, such as electronic monitoring.

This year, Governor Kathy Hochul has made some changes to those laws.

Under the new law, judges may weigh specific new factors in setting bail, including whether a defendant is accused of causing serious harm to another person. The judge may also consider whether the defendant has a history of using or possessing guns.

The judge is still prohibited from considering whether or not a defendant might be “dangerous.” This is because factors like racial bias might play into that determination. In addition, it is asking a judge to “make guesses” about who “could” commit a crime even before they’ve been convicted of any offense. While some proponents of the dangerousness standard have suggested using algorithms, those algorithms have been found to be inaccurate, in many cases reflecting the biases of the programmers.

The number of crimes for which defendants may be required to pay bail has expanded as well. Bail may be set for nonviolent repeat offenses now, even minor offenses like shoplifting. The law also lowers the threshold required to bring a charge of gun trafficking.

Prior to bail reform, many individuals would have to sit in jail in dangerous conditions whether or not they’d committed any crime, waiting months or even years to see their day in court. Prosecutors often use this fact to coerce people into taking plea deals. Either way, by the time they do, they’ve often lost jobs, lost custody of their children, lost their homes, and lost their families.

State bail data shows that only 2% of bail offenses led to re-arrests on violent felonies. However, they’re released, most people return to court without incident.

If you’ve been arrested, one way to make sure you are released on your own recognizance, or at least with livable conditions, is to reach out to a private defense attorney. We help you through every step of the criminal justice process and work tirelessly to help you bring your case to its best possible outcome.

See also:

What is a No Contest Plea Deal in New York? 

How Does Alternative Sentencing Work in NYC? 

In the News: State Budget Includes Bail Reform (2019 post)

Avatar photo
About The Author

Jeffery Greco

Jeffery Greco is an attorney providing legal services covering Criminal Defense and Criminal Defense: White Collar and Criminal Defense: DUI / DWI. Jeffery Greco, who practices law in New York, New York, was selected to Super Lawyers for 2020 - 2023. This peer designation is awarded only to a select number of accomplished attorneys in each state. The Super Lawyers selection process takes into account peer recognition, professional achievement in legal practice, and other cogent factors. Prior to becoming an attorney, he studied at South Texas College of Law Houston. He graduated in 2004. After passing the bar exam, he was admitted to legal practice in 2005.

Recent Posts



Get The Help

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.