Long Island Bail Reduction Lawyer: A Helpful Guide for Defendants and Their Families
Getting arrested and thrown in jail is scary. It’s even scarier when bail is set so high that you or your loved one can’t afford to pay it. This means sitting in jail for weeks or even months before your case goes to trial.
That’s where a Long Island bail reduction lawyer can help. They understand the bail system inside and out. They know how to convince the judge to lower bail to an amount you can actually pay.
A good bail reduction lawyer can be the difference between waiting for trial behind bars or at home with your family. This article will explain everything you need to know about bail reduction on Long Island.
What is Bail?
After someone gets arrested, they go before a judge for arraignment. This is where the judge reads the charges and sets bail.
Bail is money defendants pay to the court to ensure they show up for future court dates. If you pay bail and then miss court, you lose the money. But if you show up like you’re supposed to, you get the bail money back (minus administrative fees) after the case is over.
Judges consider a few factors when setting bail:
- Public Safety – Will the defendant commit more crimes if released?
- Flight Risk – How likely is the defendant to skip town?
- Crime Severity – More serious crimes often have higher bail.
- Defendant’s Finances – Can they actually afford the bail amount?
The problem is judges don’t always consider whether defendants can pay. They set high bails knowing people can’t afford it. This keeps them locked up until trial.
That’s where a good Long Island bail reduction attorney comes in…
How a Bail Reduction Lawyer Can Help
The 8th Amendment prohibits “excessive bail.” But if judges don’t consider your finances, how can bail be anything but excessive?
A bail reduction lawyer reviews your case and finds reasons why bail should be lower. They argue for an affordable bail in a bail reduction hearing.
Here are some of the most common arguments a Long Island bail reduction attorney might make:
You’re Not a Flight Risk
Judges want reassurance you’ll come back for trial. A bail reduction lawyer shows why you’re likely to return even with lower bail.
They may point to factors like:
- Longtime ties to the community
- Family members relying on you
- Steady employment
The more connections you have to Long Island, the less likely you’ll skip town. The judge feels better about reducing your bail.
You’re Not a Public Safety Threat
Some defendants seem likely to commit more crimes if released. The judge keeps bail high to keep them locked up.
But for non-violent crimes like drug possession or DUI, there’s little public safety risk. A good bail reduction lawyer emphasizes your crime wasn’t dangerous. The judge feels better reducing bail.
You Can’t Afford Your Bail
Excessive bail violates the 8th Amendment. A bail reduction attorney shows the judge your finances to prove the current bail is excessive for you.
Factors like income, expenses, and dependents show the judge you literally can’t pay your current bail. This builds a strong case for lowering it.
You Need Medical Care
Sitting in jail can mean missing important medications or doctor visits. A bail reduction lawyer explains your medical needs to the judge.
Judges don’t want you getting sicker in jail when you could receive treatment at home. This helps convince them to reduce your bail.
You’ll Lose Your Job
Keeping your job ensures you can support yourself and any dependents. But you can’t go to work from jail.
A bail reduction attorney explains to the judge that the high bail amount will cause you to lose your job. This shows why bail needs to be reduced enough that you can bond out quickly.
How Much Can Bail Be Reduced?
There are no hard rules on bail reduction amounts on Long Island. The judge has wide discretion to lower bail to any amount they feel is appropriate.
That said, there are some general guidelines:
- Misdemeanors – Bail is often reduced to $500-$1500 for misdemeanors.
- Non-Violent Felonies – Expect bail reductions to $2000-$7500 for minor felonies.
- Violent Felonies – Bail may only reduce to $10,000-$25,000 for violent crimes.
But again, it all depends on the judge. The prosecutor will argue to keep bail high. Your bail reduction lawyer has to convince the judge it should be lowered.
Some key factors judges consider are flight risk, public safety, your financial situation, and any medical needs. A good attorney targets these areas to get your bail reduced as much as possible.
What if Bail Isn’t Reduced?
Unfortunately judges don’t always reduce bail, even with a great lawyer arguing for it. So what options do you have if your bail stays higher than you can afford?
A few possibilities include:
Use a Bail Bondsman
Bail bondsmen provide loans for bail at a 10% fee. So if your bail is $20,000, you pay a bondsman $2,000 to post the full amount. This saves you from paying the whole bail upfront.
The catch is you need enough cash for that 10% fee. And if you miss court, the bondsman will come after you for the full $20,000. Still, it’s an option if you have some cash available.
Use Collateral Bonds
With a collateral bond, you put up an asset like your home or car as collateral instead of paying cash upfront. If you make all court dates, you keep the asset. If not, the state seizes it.
Collateral bonds are rare in New York but possible in some cases. Ask your Long Island bail reduction lawyer if it could work for you.
Request House Arrest
House arrest means staying at home instead of in jail while your case proceeds. You wear an ankle monitor to ensure you don’t leave.
A good bail reduction lawyer can sometimes convince the judge to allow house arrest instead of requiring bail. This gets you out of jail without paying anything upfront.
File an Appeal
If the judge refuses to lower your excessive bail, you can appeal to a higher court. Your bail reduction lawyer files a motion explaining how the lower court erred in setting such high bail.
The appeals judge may order the lower court to reduce your bail to a reasonable amount you can actually afford. But appeals take time, so you’ll likely stay in jail for a few weeks while it proceeds.
Finding the Right Long Island Bail Reduction Lawyer
Getting your bail reduced requires a knowledgeable and experienced attorney. Look for these key traits when choosing a bail reduction lawyer on Long Island:
- Expertise with Bail Hearings – Do they specialize in bail reductions or just dabble? Look for a true expert.
- Good Relationships with Judges & Prosecutors – Having rapport with court players helps enormously.
- High Bail Reduction Success Rate – Ask about their typical bail reduction amounts achieved.
- Reasonable Fees – Bail reduction hearings require relatively little work. Fees should reflect that.
- Responsive Service – Can they meet immediately to get working on your bail reduction? Time is critical.
Don’t leave a loved one languishing in jail because of unaffordable bail. An experienced Long Island bail reduction attorney can get bail lowered so you or your loved one can fight their case from home.