500.10 Recognizance, bail and commitment; definitions of terms.
As used in this title, and in this chapter generally, the following terms have the following meanings:
1. "Principal" means a defendant in a criminal action or proceeding, or a person adjudged a material witness therein, or any other person so involved therein that he may by law be compelled to appear before a court for the purpose of having such court exercise control over his person to secure his future attendance at the action or proceeding when required, and who in fact either is before the court for such purpose or has been before it and been subjected to such control.
2. "Release on own recognizance." A court releases a principal on his own recognizance when, having acquired control over his person, it permits him to be at liberty during the pendency of the criminal action or proceeding involved upon condition that he will appear thereat whenever his attendance may be required and will at all times render himself amenable to the orders and processes of the court.
3. "Fix bail." A court fixes bail when, having acquired control over the person of a principal, it designates a sum of money and stipulates that, if bail in such amount is posted on behalf of the principal and approved, it will permit him to be at liberty during the pendency of the criminal action or proceeding involved.
4. "Commit to the custody of the sheriff." A court commits a principal to the custody of the sheriff when, having acquired control over his person, it orders that he be confined in the custody of the sheriff during the pendency of the criminal action or proceeding involved.
5. "Securing order" means an order of a court committing a principal to the custody of the sheriff, or fixing bail, or releasing him on his own recognizance.
6. "Order of recognizance or bail" means a securing order releasing a principal on his own recognizance or fixing bail.
7. "Application for recognizance or bail" means an application by a principal that the court, instead of committing him to or retaining him in the custody of the sheriff, either release him on his own recognizance or fix bail.
8. "Post bail" means to deposit bail in the amount and form fixed by the court, with the court or with some other authorized public servant or agency.
9. "Bail" means cash bail or a bail bond.
10. "Cash bail" means a sum of money, in the amount designated in an order fixing bail, posted by a principal or by another person on his behalf with a court or other authorized public servant or agency, upon the condition that such money will become forfeit to the people of the state of New York if the principal does not comply with the directions of a court requiring his attendance at the criminal action or proceeding involved or does not otherwise render himself amenable to the orders and processes of the court.
11. "Obligor" means a person who executes a bail bond on behalf of a principal and thereby assumes the undertaking described therein. The principal himself may be an obligor.
12. "Surety" means an obligor who is not a principal.
13. "Bail bond" means a written undertaking, executed by one or more obligors, that the principal designated in such instrument will, while at liberty as a result of an order fixing bail and of the posting of the bail bond in satisfaction thereof, appear in a designated criminal action or proceeding when his attendance is required and otherwise render himself amenable to the orders and processes of the court, and that in the event that he fails to do so the obligor or obligors will pay to the people of the state of New York a specified sum of money, in the amount designated in the order fixing bail.
14. "Appearance bond" means a bail bond in which the only obligor is the principal.
15. "Surety bond" means a bail bond in which the obligor or obligors consist of one or more sureties or of one or more sureties and the principal.
16. "Insurance company bail bond" means a surety bond, executed in the form prescribed by the superintendent of financial services, in which the surety-obligor is a corporation licensed by the superintendent of financial services to engage in the business of executing bail bonds.
17. "Secured bail bond" means a bail bond secured by either:
(a) Personal property which is not exempt from execution and which, over and above all liabilities and encumbrances, has a value equal to or greater than the total amount of the undertaking; or
(b) Real property having a value of at least twice the total amount of the undertaking. For purposes of this paragraph, value of real property is determined by either:
(i) dividing the last assessed value of such property by the last given equalization rate or in a special assessing unit, as defined in article eighteen of the real property tax law, the appropriate class ratio established pursuant to section twelve hundred two of such law of the assessing municipality wherein the property is situated and by deducting from the resulting figure the total amount of any liens or other encumbrances upon such property; or
(ii) the value of the property as indicated in a certified appraisal report submitted by a state certified general real estate appraiser duly licensed by the department of state as provided in section one hundred sixty-j of the executive law, and by deducting from the appraised value the total amount of any liens or other encumbrances upon such property. A lien report issued by a title insurance company licensed under article sixty-four of the insurance law, that guarantees the correctness of a lien search conducted by it, shall be presumptive proof of liens upon the property.
18. "Partially secured bail bond" means a bail bond secured only by a deposit of a sum of money not exceeding ten percent of the total amount of the undertaking.
19. "Unsecured bail bond" means a bail bond, other than an insurance company bail bond, not secured by any deposit of or lien upon property.
20. "Court" includes, where appropriate, a judge authorized to act as described in a particular statute, though not as a court.
Last modified: February 3, 2019