In most Philadelphia criminal cases, the defendant will have bail set at preliminary arraignment. The defendant’s bail will be based on a number of factors, including ties to the community, previous criminal record, the nature of the charges, the strength of the evidence against the defendant, and other factors such as whether the defendant works or has prior failures to appear for court (bench warrants). Typically, if the defendant can pay 10% of the amount set by the bail commissioner, then the defendant will be released pending trial. However, in some cases, particularly those cases involving large quantities of drugs or financial crimes, the bail commissioner may also place a Nebbia Order on the defendant which can prevent the defendant from being released until the order is lifted.
What is a Nebbia Order?
A Nebbia Order is an order which prevents the defendant from being released even if the defendant can pay bail. Instead, the defense attorney must file a Motion to Lift the Nebbia Order before the defendant posts bail. The Motion must lay out exactly from where the funds which will be used to pay bail are coming in order to show that the funds for bail are not coming from illegal activities like selling drugs or financial fraud. Typically, this will mean showing that whoever is going to pay bail on the defendant’s behalf has either assets, savings, or credit sufficient to be able to afford to pay for the defendant’s bail. Thus, the Nebbia Order prevents the defendant from being released so long as the Order remains in place.
What happens if I post bail when I have a Nebbia Order?
If you post bail while you have a Nebbia Order, you will not be released. Therefore, you should always retain a criminal defense lawyer prior to posting bail so that the Nebbia can be addressed. Otherwise, the Court will likely hold onto the money until the case is over, but the defendant will remain in custody.
How do I get a Nebbia Order lifted?
Petitioning for the lifting of the Nebbia Order is relatively straight-forward, but it does require a criminal defense attorney. The defendant’s attorney must file a Motion to Lift the Nebbia Order and explain exactly where the bail money is going to come from. The defense will also be expected to provide proof that the person who is going to pay bail is going to use legitimate funds to do so. For example, if the bail is going to be paid by taking out a home equity line of credit on a house, the defense would be expected to provide proof that the loan has been approved by a bank.
Once the defense attorney files a Motion to Lift the Nebbia Order, the Court of Common Pleas Motions Judge will typically schedule a hearing in about a week in order to review the Motion and the proof of legitimate funds provided by the defense. In some cases, it may be possible to get a quicker hearing. In many cases, the Commonwealth may be satisfied that the money is indeed coming from a legitimate source and agree. In others, the Commonwealth could object, and then the Motions Judge would be required to rule on whether the defense has met its burden of providing sufficient proof that the funds are legitimate. Once the Judge is satisfied, the Judge will lift the Nebbia Order. The defendant may then post bail and be released pending trial.
Can I get my bail reduced also?
In many cases, if the defense is going to file a Motion to Lift the Nebbia Order, it may be possible to file a written Motion to Reduce Bail at the same time. Because the issue will be heard by the Court of Common Pleas Judge either way, there is often not much to lose (and potentially a lot to gain) by asking the Judge to also review the bail situation in general. Therefore, the defense can file both a Bail Reduction Motion and a Motion to Lift the Nebbia at the same time. Then, the Motions Judge can review both issues at the same time and potentially reduce bail while at the same time lifting the Nebbia Order.
Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyers for Bail Reductions and Nebbia Orders
The Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyers of Goldstein Mehta LLC have successfully defended thousands of clients against all types of criminal charges. We have been particularly successful in helping clients who are incarcerated following their preliminary hearing because they cannot afford bail in getting bail reduced, Nebbia Orders removed, and detainers lifted. Our award-winning defense attorneys offer a free criminal defense strategy session to anyone who is under investigation or facing criminal charges. Call 267-225-2545 to speak with one of our Philadelphia Criminal Lawyers today.