A Nebbia hearing is an important part of the federal criminal justice process. If you have been arrested and charged with a federal crime, you will need to post bail to remain free while your case makes its way through the system. A Nebbia hearing, also known as a bail source hearing, is a court procedure during which you must disclose the source of funds used to acquire the assets you are posting for bail. If you convince the court that those assets were obtained with legitimate funds, you may be released.

If you’re facing federal charges and are wondering what needs to be done at a Nebbia hearing, contact a criminal defense attorney from Protass Law PLLC to schedule a free and confidential consultation today.

What is Bail?

You can think of bail as a contract between you and the court. The court agrees to release you from jail pending trial when you place a deposit with the court. This sum of money essentially serves as a promise that you will show up to all of your future court dates. If you fail to do so, the court can keep the deposited money and issue a warrant for your arrest. The court determines the amount of your bail. If the judge presiding over your case finds that you are a danger to the public or present a flight risk, you may be denied bail entirely.

Most people don’t have enough assets to satisfy the bail conditions set by most courts, particularly in federal court where bail is often a huge sum. Those who can’t afford bail on their own often use a bail bond service. Under this arrangement, the bail bond company posts a bond with the court in the amount set by the court for bail, and keeps a non-refundable fee, usually around 10% of the deposit amount. Bail bond services typically require collateral as a condition of issuing a bail bond for you. So, if you fail to appear in court, the bond company loses its deposit and may send their employees or agents after you and bring you to court, even against your will.

You Must Prove Your Bail Deposit and Collateral Come from Legal Sources

In federal cases, the court will not release you on bail unless you first establish that the assets you post for bail were legally financed – that is, purchased with funds that were legitimately earned. Thus, a Nebbia hearing is a critical and necessary step in the criminal justice process.

You bear the burden of proof in any Nebbia hearing, which means that you must produce evidence showing that the assets you’re posting for bail were financed legitimately, and not from the profits of criminal conduct (such drug trafficking, theft, or fraud). You and your lawyer can present various forms of evidence to make such a showing, such as:

  • Testimony from people who know your finances
  • Accounting documents and bank records
  • Your tax returns
  • Business records
  • Loan documents
  • Bail bond contract

Protass Law PLLC Can Help at Your Nebbia Hearing

Protass Law PLLC understands how important it is for you to be free while you await trial. During such stressful times, it’s essential to spend as much time as you can with family and friends. For this reason, we always approach Nebbia hearings with the goal of clearly establishing that our clients have posted a legitimate form of bail.

If you or a family member is in pre-trial detention for a federal crime, call us today at 212.455.0335 to schedule a free, initial consultation with a skilled New York criminal defense attorney.