While this section focuses on how does bail work in New York City and the surounding areas, much of the information applies to the rest of the state as well.  IMPORTANT: If you need immediate help in New York (or anywhere else in the country), click here for our free 5 simple steps bail out plan.

Getting bail in NYC is a lot more complicated than almost anywhere else in the country. Unfortunately, we have more warnings about bail and unscrupulous bondsmen in the New York section than any other and in fact the New York State Department Of Insurance is currently investigating 43 bail bond agents. In spite of that we are determined to sort it out for you as much as possible here.

WARNING: A series of recent reports by the New York Times has exposed a troubling development in how some New York City bail bondsmen work. They found that it is legal for a bondsman to write into the contract that if the bondsman revokes the bond, which they have the right to do, and rearrests the defendant, they can deduct as much as 15% from the collateral the defendant has given them. This means there is an incentive for the bondsman to cancel the bond and rearrest the defendant for a quick profit. While legal, we feel this is clearly unethical. Tip: We strongly suggest that when you follow our guidelines in our 5 simple steps to get bail that you ask them if there is a charge for revoking the bond in your email to them.

Bail can be paid 24 hours a day in any of the New York City jails but unlike many other states, bail amounts are not regulated. WARNING: an attorney gave me this important warning. A judge has quite a bit of freedom to set the bail amount, and it can really vary by the judge, even depending on something as trivial as how good (or bad) of a day they are having. If you are concerned about how much the amount may be, email a bail bondsman and seek their advice. They may be able to give you a ball park number based on the history of that particular judge, and the charge. It might allow you enough time to gather your financial resources before the bail hearing.

bail bonds new york At the end of the bail hearing it is not uncommon for the judge to call for a “bail sufficiency hearing.” This is similar to how federal bail bonds work, and means that before bail can be accepted the accused must prove the bail money is from a legitimate source. This tends to be more common in cases involving drugs, fraud, organized crime, illegal traffiking, and others.

New York City does allow you to post property as bail. This is sometimes allowed by a judge where the bail amount is unusually high. While tempting since it can save you the bondsman fees, it also can take a while to be processed and is not always easy to do.WARNING: In New York City, it is becoming more prevalent for judges to set “Cash Only” bail. Which means that you must put up the full amount rather than being allowed to go through a bondsman. If this happens to you, there may still be workarounds. Email a bail bondsman as soon as possible and seek advice.

The New York City Department of Corrections sets the terms for bail payment. As of this writing, Bail will be accepted in any of the following forms:

  • U.S. cash for the full amount;
  • Cashier’s/Tellers’s check, in any amount not exceeding the bail figure;
  • Bank money order, up to $1,000;
  • Federal Express money order, up to $1,000;
  • U.S. Postal money order, up to $1,000;
  • Travelers Express Company money order up to $1,000;
  • Western Union money order, up to $1,000

TIP: While any individual money order or check listed above as having a $1000 limit may not exceed that amount, there is no limit on the number of such money orders and/or such checks that may be accepted in payment of the bail, provided their total together or in combination with cash meets the bail requirement exactly. (The Department does NOT “give change” in bail transactions.)


If paying bail at the Manhattan Detention Complex, also known as the Manhattan House of Detention, or the Vernon C. Bain Center, make checks or money orders payable to the facility, regardless of where the inmate is housed. If you are making bail at Rikers Island, checks or money orders must be made out to the Rikers Island Central Cashier (RICC is acceptable, there is no need to spell out), again, regardless of where the inmate is housed. Checks or money orders made out to the Department of Correction are not accepted. The person posting bail must present personal identification and must provide the New York State Identification (NYSID) number of the person to be bailed. Brooklyn bail bonds are a little different – see the Brooklyn arraignments section for more information.


Not acceptable for bail purposes:
Personal checks, whether certified or not;
Otherwise acceptable forms of check/money order but made out to amounts exceeding the $1,000 limit or for which a refund (“change”) would be required;
Otherwise acceptable forms of check/money order but made out to the Department of Correction or to a jail other than the one at which they are presented;
Other than the authorized forms.

TIP: We know that getting a bail bond in NYC can get very complicated and the fact is, you don’t want your loved one spending a lot of time in a place like Rikers Island while you try to figure this all out, do you? If you are not sure what to do, visit a bail bondsman website and email or fill out their contact form now. This is what they do and they are generally very willing to help guide you through the process. They can often get the defendant out within hours. Also, many of them now have online forms on their websites where you can post your questions anonymously. TIP: Be sure to ask them if there are any fees beyond the cost for funding the bail. Some bondsman have been known to charge for dubious things like research, and bail consulting. Get their answers in writing in an email in case there is a misunderstanding later. We know when you are looking for bail for someone you are in a hurry, but we strongly recommend you send some emails now and help prevent a lot of trouble later for both you and the defendant.

Bail Bonds – New York – Bail Bond Links and Contact Information

New York County Manhattan Arraignments
New York Criminal Court building
100 Centre Street

New York County Manhattan House Of Detention
125 White Street
New York, NY, 10013

Central Clerks’ Office
100 Centre Street, Room 1000
New York, NY 10013
(646) 386-4000
Alphabetical lists of defendants are posted daily in the lobby.

Clerks’ Office
111 Centre Street, Room 927
New York, NY 10013
(646) 386-4300

Rikers Island:
11-11 Hazen Avenue
East Elmhurst, NY 11370

Kings County Arraignments (Brooklyn Arraignments)
Brooklyn Criminal Court building
120 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn

Queens County Arraignments
Queens Criminal Courthouse
125-01 Queens Blvd.
AR2 pink summons court is located across the street in the Borough Hall Building.

Bronx County Arraignments
Bronx Criminal Court Building
215 East 161st Street

Metropolitan Correctional Center
150 Park Row
New York, NY 10007
Telehone: 646-836-6300
Fax: 646-836-7751

Nothing stated herein should be construed or interpreted to grant rights or remedies not otherwise granted under federal or state law. This information is provided as a public service and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice or representation by a lawyer or bail bondsman. We recommend you email a bail bondsman for more information about your situation.

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