New York Bench Warrants And Bail Modification Or Revocation

by ECL Writer
What Is A Criminal Complaint?

Prior to 2020, New York judges would frequently and almost by default issue warrants if you failed to show up for court on the designated day, even against the protest of your criminal defense attorney. Judges might issue what are known as “bench warrants” even if you had a valid excuse for missing your appearance dates, such as a health issue, a family emergency, or a job conflict. To be clear, this does not imply that courts were never arbitrary, even when the prosecution called for your arrest right away.

Sometimes, all parties concurred that such an order should be stayed, which would prevent it from being filed if you returned as scheduled at a later date. When your attorney appears in court, the appearance may occasionally just be rescheduled with supporting documentation, such as a note from a healthcare provider. Hence, you are no longer required to rely on impartial, sympathetic, and understanding judges and prosecutors. Simply put, New York’s bail regulations have significantly shifted in favor of those who have been accused.

Legal Requirement For Issuance

First and foremost, regardless of whether you are accused of a felony or a misdemeanor and whatever the nature of the underlying violation, a judge can impose warrants. The presiding judge must notify you or your bench warrant attorney of his or her intention before imposing one owing to your failure to appear other than as a consequence of a fresh arrest. The court must then give you forty-eight (48) hours to voluntarily appear, sometimes known as return of your own volition.

The judge cannot decide to issue the warrant until after and if you do not appear. CPL 510.50(2). (2). If the court decides there is “credible evidence” indicating that your refusal to attend was purposeful, then this rule will not apply.

Modifying Bail Upon Your Return On A Bench Warrant

Even if a bench warrant is issued for your failure to appear within the forty-eight (48) hour period, the judge must hold a bail hearing when you show up for court in order to change or revoke the terms of your release. The court’s role at this hearing is to decide whether there is sufficient proof that your actions were both persistent and deliberate. CPL 530.60(2)(b) (b).

In the end, new and more strict criteria may be enforced if there is a negative outcome. The least restrictive circumstances rule still holds true, though. That is to say, the judge must specifically rule in your case based on the circumstances you have presented, as argued by your attorney, that whatever action is the least invasive to secure your return to court is the proper adjustment, if any, must be taken. Setting bail in a sum that would be equivalent to remand is no longer acceptable as the default response.

In fact, your attorney can contend that since you attended court after you were informed of the hearing or showed up in person despite missing earlier scheduled days, no more action is required. Why? Because you have actually come back to court, despite how clear it may seem. The warrant should be revoked and the terms of your release should remain the same if you are successful.

What You Should Know

Your right to a hearing on the revocation of your bail is crucial, and a knowledgeable attorney might mean the difference between more stringent terms that will severely negatively affect your life and maintaining the status quo. Even if the court initially held as such, your attorney may successfully argue that one or two missing court appearances shouldn’t even result in the ordering of a warrant and violate the intentional and persistent requirement. Fighting to keep you free pending a hearing is essential because, if you are initially charged with a severe felony offense, a judge can only keep you in remand status for a maximum of seventy-two (72) hours.

If you don’t follow the rules of your release, such as going back to court when told to or following a judge’s orders, it might seriously affect your freedom and the course of your case. Do not allow the District Attorney or an overzealous judge to usurp your rights, despite what the prosecution wants and regardless of the consequences you could face.

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