There are several ways to post bail:
Cash bail may be paid online at the NYC Department of Corrections website “Inmate Lookup Service” at nyc.gov/doc/lookup. This service is only available when the court sets credit card bail AND it can only be used on days that the accused does not have a court date. After inputting the person’s name or NYSID you will be taken to an “Inmate Details” page which has a pay bail button at the bottom. Make sure you are paying bail for the correct person. You will be charged a 2% processing fee which will not be refunded at the end of the case.
At the time that the judge sets bail (usually at the arraignments) if both the person posting bail and the accused are in the courthouse, cash or credit card bail can be posted in the courthouse. Paying bail at this point will prevent the accused from being transferred to jail. If you want to pay on a future court appearance date, you may pay cash or by credit card to the court clerk, as long as the accused is in court on that date. No checks are accepted in court.
In a jail facility
Cash bail can also be paid 24/7 at most city jails, although people are usually released fastest if the bail is paid at the facility where they are being held. City jails will accept certain kinds of certified or government checks as well as cash, but there are restrictions on the amount and type. Personal checks are not accepted. Cashiers/teller’s checks, also known as bank checks, can be written for an unlimited amount; however, money orders cannot exceed one-thousand dollars ($1,000) per check. Checks should be made out to New York City Department of Correction. As an alternative the accused can post bail from their own jail commissary account. You can find rules about posting bail and about sending money to the prisoner account on the NYC Department of Correction’s website. Alternatively, you can obtain information about posting bail, as well as information on locating defendants and jails, retrieving prisoners’ property, visiting hours and rules, and travel directions, by calling the Department of Correction, at 718-546-0700. The addresses of New York City jails are listed below:
- Brooklyn Detention Complex, 275 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y 11201
- Manhattan Detention Complex, 125 White Street, New York, NY 10013
- Vernon C. Bain Center (The Boat), 1 Halleck Street, Bronx, NY 10474
- Queens Detention Complex, 126-02 82nd Avenue, Kew Gardens, NY 11415
- Riker’s Island, 11-11 Hazen Street, East Elmhurst (Queens), NY 11370
Through a bail bondsman
If you are posting an insurance company bond, you will first need to find a bail bondsman. They can be located through the yellow pages, and often have offices near the courthouses. You will have to enter into a contract with the bondsmen which will require you to pay a non-refundable fee, and may require extra money or property as collateral. Bond companies are regulated by the State and there are maximum fees they may impose. Make sure that you understand the agreement and fees required before entering into a contract with a bail bond company. For more information about bail bonds please refer to the Center for Urban Pedagogy’s pamphlet “Bail’s Set…What’s Next?”