NYS CPL Law
Criminal Procedure Law
New York State Consolidated Laws
Article 500 - NY Criminal Procedure Law
RECOGNIZANCE, BAIL AND COMMITMENT - DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
S 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
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
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
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
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
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.
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