2020-2021 NYS Bail Reform Changes

Late Thursday, NY lawmakers approved the 2021 Budget, a 177 billion dollar plan that includes COVID-19 relief, new paid sick leave, and the banning of flavored e-cigarettes.  Tucked within that budget, are anticipated changes to the recently effective bail and discovery changes in the criminal procedure law.  

Here are some of the major changes to the law we have been able to glean from the budget.  Keep in mind, these are not the law, yet. 

New Bail Qualifying Offenses

On January 1, 2020, the Bail Reform laws eliminated cash bail for nearly all non-violent, non-sex offenses.  

Under the new proposed law, the following crimes would be added to the list of  bail qualifying offenses:

  • Burglary in the Second Degree if the defendant enters the living area of the dwelling;
  • Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 1st degree as an A1 felony, 
  • Sex trafficking; 
  • Money laundering in support of terrorism or in the 1st degree;
  • Promoting child pornography;
  • Any crime that causes the death of another person; 
  • Criminal Obstruction of Breathing, Strangulation in the 2nd degree, unlawful imprisonment in the 1st degree, if any of these offenses are committed against a member of the defendant’s family or household; 
  • Aggravated vehicular assault; 
  • Vehicular assault in the 1st degree; 
  • Assault in the 3rd degree as a hate crime;
  • Arson in the 3rd degree as a hate crime; 
  • Aggravated assault on a person less than 11 years old;
  • Criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds; 
  • Grand larceny in the 1st degree; 
  • Enterprise corruption;
  • Failure to register as a sex offender;
  • Bail jumping;
  • Escape;
  • Any felony committed while defendant is on probation or post release supervision;
  • Any felony that may qualify the defendant as a persistent felony offender;
  • Any felony or class A misdemeanor committed against a person or property while defendant was released on their own recognizance for a felony or class A misdemeanor committed against a person or property. 

New Non-Monetary Conditions for Release

Additionally, the new proposal would allow a Judge additional non-bail conditions for releasing defendants charged with crimes, including: mental health referrals and requirements to attend counseling, requirements to maintain employment, housing, or enrollment in school, surrendering of a passport, refrain from associating with people connected to the charges, including witnesses and victims. 

New Discovery Timeframes

The proposal also relaxes the requirements for prosecutors to turn over evidence.  Under the current law, prosecutors have 15 calendar days from the time of arraignment to turn over most evidence to the defendant.  Under the new proposals, those timeframes increase to 20 calendar days where a defendant is in custody, and 35 calendar days where a defendant is not in custody.  

The criminal defense attorneys at Ianniello Anderson, P.C. continue to monitor new developments in the law to keep our clients as informed and protected as possible.