What is a Nebbia Hold?

In state court, the judge at first appearance can add a condition to bond known as a Nebbia Hold (sometimes called the Nebia Hold, Nebbia requirement, or Bail Source Hearing). A Nebbia hold allows the court to inquire into the source of the funds used for the bond.

After an arrest, arrestees are often released on bail or bond while awaiting their trials. In order to allow such releases, they must pay a set amount, or put up property as collateral. These funds are meant to guarantee that the person released will appear in court on the designated date. Sometimes, the court will include a Nebbia hold on the bond, which may prevent their immediate release.

Many federal courts add a bail sufficiency requirement to the bond, also known as a “Nebbia, Nebia Hearing, bail source hearing or 1275 bail sufficiency hearing”. Basically the burden of proof is on the defendant and his/her family to show that the collateral and money paying the bond is from a legitimate source.

A Nebbia hold requires the defendant and co-signers of the bond (his friend or family member) to produce and disclose the source of bail premium and collateral prior to the defendant’s release on bail.

The defendant must show that the source of the bail premium and collateral are from a legitimate source and were not acquired through illegal activities, or from the profits of a crime such as drug trafficking, money laundering, theft or fraud. Testimony, accounting documents, tax returns, banking records, and business records are a few things a court may consider in determining the sources of the finances are legitimate.

What Can an Attorney do to Contest Nebbia Holds?

Once a Nebbia order is attached to bail, a criminal defense attorney needs to file a written motion to schedule a Nebbia hearing to have it lifted before a judge in the Court of Common Pleas. In the motion, the lawyer will have to outline the proof that the funds being used to pay bail are from legitimate sources, and will cite bank records, mortgage and property records, income tax returns, and/or other financial records.

At the Nebbia hearing, the defense attorney will introduce the evidence, and offer testimony from the surety to demonstrate to the court that the source of the funds is legitimate. The funds that are being used for the bail can be borrowed, so long as it can be shown that the loan could be repaid with legitimate funds.

A criminal defense attorney can file this motion quickly and make the entire process run smoothly so that the defendant can be released from custody expeditiously. Once the Nebbia is lifted, a motion for reduction of bail can also be filed if the ten percent amount is set too high.


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