Felony Bail Guidelines

(Effective Tuesday May 29, 2018)

The following is intended to establish presumptive guidance governing our practice when requesting bail or non-monetary securing orders for defendants charged in a felony complaint or indictment with the commission of one or more felony crimes. These guidelines are presumptive because there may be circumstances where it is appropriate to deviate from them in individual cases. They are intended to promote equitable treatment and consistency, and should be followed in the great majority of cases to ensure that cash bail is set only when necessitated by the defendant’s criminal history, current crime, sentencing exposure, or history of failure to abide by court directives while at liberty.

The purpose of bail and non-monetary securing orders is, of course, to secure a defendant’s appearance at future court proceedings. CPL § 510.30(2)(a). It is not intended to impose a pre-conviction period of incarceration on those unable to post bail. Accordingly,

  • The People should not ask for cash bail unless they intend to recommend a sentence of incarceration of more than six months, except as provided below. The People should recommend ROR or non-monetary securing orders, including supervised release, conditions such as a curfew or home detention, and alternatives to detention programs in appropriate cases.

Exceptions Where Bail May Be Appropriate (1)

  • Crimes involving the use or threatened use of force, or the commission of a violent felony offense (e.g., domestic violence, sex crime, child abuse, assault, robbery).
  • Crimes resulting in physical injury, serious physical injury, or death.
  • Crimes where the defendant injures a police officer, firefighter, EMT, or other public servant, or violently resists arrest.
  • Cases where the defendant is a second felony offender and is facing a mandatory state prison sentence, as determined by statute.
  • Cases where the defendant has a prior sex crimes conviction.
  • Cases where the defendant has a pending felony case or multiple pending misdemeanor cases.
  • Cases where the defendant is at liberty on parole, probation, or supervised release.
  • Cases where defendant has an extensive criminal history, a history of failure to abide by court directives while at liberty, or a history of failure to appear in court.

  1. These exceptions, not meant to be exclusive, represent circumstances in which the nature of the underlying crime and attendant sentence, the criminal history, the defendant’s failure to abide by court directives or the defendant’s character as reflected by the instant offense, suggest that bail may be appropriate, in accordance with the factors listed in CPL § 510.30(2)(a).