Weinstein Law Blog

Thursday, January 11, 2018

"New" Bail Rules In Manhattan For Misdemeanor Cases

The "New" Misdemeanor Bail Guidelines issued by the Manhattan DA's Office

As has been recently reported: the Manhattan (and Brooklyn) District Attorney's Office are claiming to end bail in non-felony cases - this is simply not true. As you will clearly see The numerous exceptions swallow the rule. And almost all of the numerous exceptions seem to have no real correlation to the only lawful purpose for bail in New York State: ensuring the defendant's return to court. Instead, almost of the exceptions seem to be correlated to perceived danger, which is not a lawful basis for seeking or setting bail. In truth, this does not effectuate any change whatsoever then what has already been existent – People accused of non-violent misdemeanors with no criminal record are generally released without bail anyway. 

Effective January 9, 2018: the following are Misdemeanor Bail Guidelines from the New York County "Manhattan" District Attorney's Office:

(the italicized text is the actual text of the DA's Guidelines)

As with our misdemeanor plea guidelines, these are guidelines; they are not chiseled in stone. There may be circumstances in which it is appropriate to deviate from them, and you should speak to a supervisor when such circumstances arise. On the whole, however, they are designed to promote equitable treatment and consistency, and should be applied in most scenarios.

• The presumption for misdemeanors and violations will be that no bail is to be requested.

• If diversion is appropriate (e.g., newSTART, Youth Part, Young Adult Part, Community Service, etc.), the People should not ask for bail.

• Unless the People are seeking a jail sentence of 30 days or more as an appropriate disposition of a misdemeanor case, the People should not ask for bail (see exceptions below).

• The Office should recommend supervised release in appropriate cases.

• The Office takes immigration, housing, employment and other collateral consequences into account when appropriate and fashions appropriate dispositions (e.g., offer of Marijuana Violation, PL 221.05 + $75 fine or Disorderly Conduct Violation, PL 240.20 + 1 day community service).

Exceptions Where Bail May Be Appropriate

• Cases involving a victim (e.g., domestic violence, sex crimes, child abuse, assault cases, subway grinders, etc.).

• Cases where the defendant injures a police officer, firefighter, EMT or other such public servant, or violently resists arrest.

• Cases where the defendant has a prior violent felony conviction in the past 10 years, or a prior serious, non-violent felony conviction (e.g., A-I or A-II offenses, Sex Trafficking, Robbery in the Third Degree, Conspiracy to commit a violent felony) in the past 10 years.

• Cases where the defendant has a prior (felony or misdemeanor) sex crime conviction.

• Cases where the defendant has a pending felony case, or multiple pending misdemeanor cases.

• Cases where the defendant is on parole, probation, or supervised release.

• Cases where the defendant is a priority offender (e.g., cases involving a CSU arrest alert or pre-made bail application).

• Cases where the defendant has an extensive criminal history, or a history of failing to appear in court where supervised release is not appropriate.

Shoplifting cases should not be considered as “victim” cases. That being said, bail may be appropriate for individuals with extensive shoplifting histories, or for whom we are seeking 30 or more days jail.

If arrested, you need someone with the Experience, knowledge and Skill to fight for you at every stage! Call the Law Office of Jacob Z. Weinstein, PLLC at 646-450-3484 or e-mail directly at for a free confidential consultation. 

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As a former prosecutor, I fully understand the power law enforcement has. As a trial attorney, I know the law seems very scary.