District Attorneys Gear Up to Find New Ways Around Reformed NY Bail Law

District Attorneys Gear Up to Find New Ways Around Reformed NY Bail Law

On January 1, 2020, most people arrested for non-violent crimes won’t have to post bail. They will be released and ordered to appear at their trials.

It’s no surprise that many prosecuting attorneys don’t like the new law. Many claim it will make it harder to deter crime. 

An ADA from Nassau County,Jed Painter, is trying to help other DAs find legal loopholes that would either keep nonviolent criminals in jail until trial, or force them to pay bail as usual.

For example, he advised DAs to tell local police not to pick up felony defendants right away if they don’t show up to court. In his presentation he said, “Don’t be their Uber. You’re not going to get bail on them for that violation. Wait the 30 days, and then you’ve got your bail-jumping charge waiting for them.” He only advised picking them up right away if public safety was at issue.

He also suggested asking judges to demand defendants check in daily by phone or Skype, and then issuing a warrant for arrest if they fail to check in. It’s quite easy to make a mistake under the order and to trip up, and equally easy for the person on the other end to fail to record a call.

Studies have shown pretrial detention increases the likelihood of a conviction, often because defendants plea bargain just so they can go home faster with credit for time served. In some cases they’re disappointed: pretrial detention can also lead to longer sentences.

They often end up with large bills for court fees and fines which they can’t afford to pay. 

Often, these defendants have already lost their jobs, their reputations, their housing, and custody of their children. Many of them lose the will to fight.

Pretrial detention makes it difficult to work closely with even the best attorneys, which means it becomes harder to successfully defend the case at trial. 

If you’ve been accused of a nonviolent crime, what should you do?

First, provide the court with your cell phone number. In NYC anyone who provides a number gets text messages. This has resulted in a 30% drop in missed court dates, and will ensure you don’t miss your court date due to a mix up. 

Second, if you do miss your court date, contact your lawyer immediately to work something out with the court. If you do so before the 30 days passes, you won’t be arrested for failing to appear.

Finally, choose an experienced lawyer who will advocate for you against unreasonable requirements such as daily phone check-ins, and who will work closely with you to make sure you know exactly what to do to defend yourself against your specific criminal charges.

Ideally, you’ll choose one who has the time and energy to devote to your case. 

If you’re in trouble, we can help. Contact the Law Office of Julie Rendelman today for a free consultation.