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Cash bail is money paid to release a person who has been arrested (also known as a defendant). The person who pays the bail is called the surety. 

After posting bail, the surety gets a receipt as proof of payment. The funds are held by the Department of Finance (DOF) until it receives a refund order from the court. The court usually issues a cash bail refund order 6 to 8 weeks after a case is closed or bail is exonerated.

Within 2 weeks of getting the order from the court, DOF will mail a refund check to the address listed for the surety on the cash bail receipt. If you paid bail online, your refund will not include the 2% online payment processing fee.

If the defendant does not return for their trial, the cash bail is not returned. Cash bail can only be refunded with a court order.

Only the surety can speak with DOF regarding cash bails. If you are the surety, you can get information and assistance if:

  • You haven’t received a check 10 weeks after a case has closed
  • You have questions about changing your address or assigning the bail to another person
  • You want to request to pick up your refund check in person
  • You need a Cash Bail Assignment Application or Change of Address Notice

You will need to provide the Treasury Receipt (TR) number or the docket number.

Get bail refund information and assistance.

If cash bail funds haven’t been refunded or claimed after 3 years, or if the court has not issued a refund order within 3 years, they are reported as abandoned to the New York State Comptroller's Office of Unclaimed Funds.

The Department of Finance posts a list of abandoned bail regularly online at nyc.gov/finance and publishes a list in local newspapers every year on January 31st. Get the most recent list of abandoned bail.

Abandoned bail must be claimed before the end of March in the year it appears on the abandoned bail list, otherwise it is turned over to the State Comptroller.

Claiming Abandoned Bail

If your name was on the abandoned bail list, you must claim your refund before the end of March by mail or in person. 

By Mail

Your request must include the following:

  • Your name, address, and telephone number
  • Defendant's name
  • Docket number
  • Amount of bail paid
  • A copy of the bail receipt

You must include a copy of a valid government-issued picture ID, such as:

  • New York State driver's license or non-driver's ID
  • Passport
  • IDNYC card 
  • Benefit card with picture

If you do not have a valid government issued ID, send copies of two forms of ID that can verify your identity. At least one ID must have a photo and signature. Examples include:

  • Social Security Card
  • Voter registration card
  • Employment ID
  • School ID
  • Utility bill (issued within the last 60 days) 

Mail your request to:

NYC Department of Finance
Treasury/Court Assets Unit
66 John Street, 12 Floor
New York, NY 10038

In Person

You can claim your refund in person at the Manhattan Business Center.

You must bring a valid government-issued picture ID, such as:

  • A valid New York State driver's license or non-driver's ID
  • A passport
  • IDNYC card 
  • A benefit card with picture

If you do not have a valid government issued ID, bring two forms of ID that can verify your identity. At least one ID must have a photo and signature. Examples include:

  • Social Security Card
  • Voter registration card
  • Employment ID
  • School ID
  • Utility bill (issued within the last 60 days) 
  • Any ID with your signature (subject to the Bail Unit's discretion)

The Treasury/Courts Assets Unit is located at the Manhattan Business Center at 66 John Street, 2nd Floor - Window 5. It is open Monday to Friday, 9 AM to 4:30 PM.

If you would like receive your cash bail refund check in person, you must call the Court Assets Unit and arrange a pickup.

After arranging a pickup, you can get your check at the Manhattan Business Center. The center is located at 66 John Street, 2nd Floor. It is open Monday to Friday, 9 AM to 4:30 PM.

Get bail refund information and assistance.

Call 311 for assistance by phone.

The person who paid the bail (the surety) can assign a cash bail refund to an attorney or another person (the assignee). When cash bail is assigned to another person, the original surety waives all rights to the cash bail refund. The assignee becomes the new surety of record and will receive the refund instead.

Once cash bail has been assigned to another person, it cannot be reversed. 

To transfer the cash bail refund to another person, you must submit the following documents to the NYC Department of Finance Court Assets Unit:

  • A notarized letter requesting a cash bail assignment, or a completed, notarized Cash Bail Assignment Application, AND
  • A copy of a valid government issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, passport, benefit card, or IDNYC card

Mail these documents to:

NYC Department of Finance
Treasury Division, Court Assets Unit
66 John Street, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10038

Request the Cash Bail Assignment Application

You can request the Cash Bail Assignment Application online or by phone. You can also download the Application online.

Online

Get more information and download forms.

Email the Cash Bail Unit.

By Phone

Call 311 for assistance.

All cash bail refunds are mailed to the surety’s address listed on the original cash bail receipt. 

If you are the surety and your address has changed, you must submit the following documents to the NYC Department of Finance Court Assets Unit:

  • A notarized letter or a Cash Bail Refund Change of Address Notice, AND
  • A copy of a valid government issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, passport, benefit card, or IDNYC card

Mail these documents to:

NYC Department of Finance
Treasury Division, Court Assets Unit
66 John Street, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10038

Request the Change of Address Notice

You can request the Change of Address Notice online or by phone. You can also download the Notice online.

Online

Get more information and download forms.

Email the Cash Bail Unit.

By Phone

Call 311 for assistance.

A court may order Finance to keep cash bail for a particular case. 

If you receive a letter notifying you that your cash bail has been forfeited by the court, then you must contact the court that ordered the forfeiture or the District Attorney’s Office within 45 days of the date of the letter to find out the reason for the forfeiture. 

Only a judge can issue or reverse a forfeit order.

Get more information and download forms.

If you need further assistance or need copies of forms you can contact the Department of Finance:

Online

Email the Cash Bail Unit.

In Person

Treasury/Court Asset Unit
66 John Street, 2nd Floor
Hours: Monday to Friday, from 9 AM to 4:30 PM

By Phone

Call 311 for assistance.