Bail reform in New York State has been a hot-button issue, marked by significant changes and intense public discourse. The legislation, aimed at rectifying perceived injustice within the bail system, has undergone multiple amendments since its initial implementation. As we delve into the present state of bail reform in New York, we will unpack the principal changes, key stakeholders' perspectives, and the impact of these reforms on the broader criminal justice system.
What Is Bail Reform?
Bail reform is the process of changing and improving the system that allows people accused of crimes to be released from custody before their trials. Traditionally, bail has been set at a specific monetary amount, which the accused must pay as a form of guarantee that they will return to court for their scheduled appearances. However, critics argue that this system is unfair to those who cannot afford to pay bail, leading to longer, unnecessary stays in jail, even if they pose no real risk of fleeing.
According to City & State New York, "the term “bail reform,” which was originally used to refer to a package of changes to the bail law passed as part of the 2019 state budget, has since become a catch-all term for “soft on crime” policies – blamed for everything from a rise in shootings during the early years of the COVID-19 pandemic to a reported rise in shoplifting from chain pharmacies."
This backlash has led to several legislative changes and increased scrutiny of the bail reform process in New York State, including three rollbacks of the 2019 changes in 2020, 2022, and 2023.
Changes To Bail Reform In New York
The initial New York bail reforms passed as part of the 2019 budget included provisions that eliminated cash bail for most misdemeanor and non-violent felony offenses while also increasing the rights of defendants held in pre-trial detention. These changes have since been revised and amended multiple times, with the most significant rollbacks occurring in 2020, 2022, and 2023.
The most recent change will not change the measure that prevents judges from setting bail for those charged with misdemeanor and nonviolent charges. However, according to the New York Times, the changes will require that judges implement the "least restrictive" means of ensuring the defendant returns to court before trial. The change will give judges far "greater discretion to hold defendants - particularly repeat or serious offenders - before their trial." However, proponents of the 2019 law have argued that "fearmongering and political calculations are guiding lawmakers' thinking."
Collins Gann McCloskey & Barry PLLC Can Help Protect Your Rights
At Collins Gann McCloskey & Barry PLLC, we are committed to protecting your rights and ensuring your fair representation if you are charged with a crime. Our team of experienced attorneys understands the complexities of the criminal justice system, including the nuances of the bail reform process. We leverage our expertise to devise a robust defense strategy, aiming to mitigate the potential consequences and secure the best possible outcome for your case.
Our services extend beyond the courtroom, where we provide comprehensive legal support throughout the pre-trial process. We guide you through the intricacies of bail proceedings, ensuring you understand the potential implications of these reforms on your case. With our commitment to uphold your rights, we help ensure that the newly revised bail regulations are not used disadvantageously against you.
We also understand the emotional toll that criminal charges can bring, and we are committed to providing not only legal counsel but also emotional support in these challenging times. With Collins Gann McCloskey & Barry PLLC by your side, you can rest assured that you have a team on your side that is dedicated to fighting for your rights and ensuring that the rule of law prevails.
If you are facing criminal charges in New York and would like to learn more about how bail reform may affect your case, contact us online or call us at (516) 218-5131 today for a free consultation.