What Is a Nebbia Order?


Nebbia Orders

When a defendant commits a crime (especially felonies involving weapons, violent crimes, and drug trafficking), the bail commissioner will likely set a high bail, making it difficult for the defendant to pay the required amount to be released from pre-trial incarceration. A criminal defense attorney can work to reduce the defendant’s bail to allow them to fight their case from outside jail. However, there are times when the court places a type of restriction on bail, even where the defendant can post bail. One type of restriction often ordered in Philadelphia when the person is charged with drug offenses and large amounts of money or narcotics are recovered is called a Nebbia Order. If you or your loved one are awaiting trial in jail because the court imposed a Nebbia Order, contact a Philadelphia criminal defense attorney to figure out how to get the Nebbia Order removed.

A Nebbia Order is a condition on bail in which the defendant or their surety, the person posting the defendant’s bail, must show where the funds used to post bail are coming from. It requires the defense attorney to show that bail funds are from legitimate sources and not from illegal activities.

Nebbia orders are not common to most crimes and are tied to those in which large sums of money are made illegally. It is assumed that when the defendant is arrested for a particular crime, they have set some aside in case legal issues arise in the future. Crimes in which a court imposes a Nebbia Order typically include:

  • Drug trafficking
  • Theft
  • Money laundering
  • White-collar crime
  • Other organized crime

How Does a Nebbia Order Get Removed?

If a judge places a Nebbia Order as a condition on bail, you should call a Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer immediately as they can fight to have the order removed. To remove a Nebbia order, the criminal defense attorney will file a written motion with the Clerk of Courts to schedule a Nebbia Hearing before the judge. The motion filed should show that the funds the defendant will use to post bail, whether by themselves or through a surety, are from legitimate sources. The legitimacy is proven by providing bank records, property records, income tax returns, paystubs, and other relevant financial records.

At the Nebbia hearing, the defendant has the burden of proof. They must show that the funds to post bail were not obtained through some criminal activity. Additionally, where a surety intends to post bail for the defendant, they will likely testify as to the source of the bail funds to show the court the funds are legitimate. If the defendant borrows money to post bail, their criminal defense attorney must show that the borrowed funds can be repaid with legitimate funds. If the defendant fails to show a legitimate source, the Nebbia Order will not be removed, and the defendant will remain in pre-trial incarceration until their trial.

Do You or a Loved One Need Help Getting a Nebbia Order Removed?

While a Nebbia Order is intended to prevent a criminal defendant from posting bail with funds from an illegitimate source, no defendant who has not been convicted of a capital crime should suffer the mental distress resulting from sitting in jail for long periods of time while awaiting trial. If you or a loved one have been arrested for a crime involving large sums of money or drugs and the court imposes a Nebbia Order as a condition on bail, call the office of Wimmer Criminal Defense Law. Philadelphia criminal defense attorney Lauren Wimmer understands when a judge is likely to impose a Nebbia Order. They will fight to have a Nebbia Order removed by filing the necessary motions, gather evidence of legitimate sources of funds, and work hard to lift the Order at the Nebbia Hearing.

Understanding Bail in Philadelphia

When a person is arrested for a crime in Philadelphia and bail is set, the criminal defense attorney will immediately get to work in helping their client understand what needs to be done to post bail so that they can await trial from home instead of jail. The case begins with the person’s arrest, during which they are taken to jail and booked. The accused will then appear in court at their arraignment. Here, the judge will inform them of the charges against them and review their criminal file. Upon review, the judge will set bail and any conditions on bail. Anyone arrested for a crime should have a criminal defense attorney present at the arraignment as they can work to obtain the lowest bail possible.

When the court is setting bail, it will generally consider two factors:

  • Flight risk – Defendants considered a flight risk are those that law enforcement and the prosecution believe may attempt to leave the jurisdiction in which they are being tried prior to trial. Individuals on the run from law enforcement before being taken into custody are likely to face high bail.
  • Danger to the community – The court will look at the seriousness of the danger the defendant poses to themselves and others in their community.

Additionally, a court will weigh other factors such as the defendant’s age and maturity, the nature of the offense and any prior offenses, the defendant’s ties to the community, and anything else the court finds relevant.

Once bail is set, the defendant is usually required to pay 10% of the bail set by the bail commissioner in order to be released from custody before trial. The bail can be paid by the defendant or someone on their behalf, and typically the court won’t question where the funds used to post bail came from unless a Nebbia Order is imposed.

Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Philadelphia

Philadelphia criminal defense attorney Lauren Wimmer has defended countless defendants in both federal and state courts. She has filed motions to lift Nebbia Orders in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and won, even over the objection of the Assistant District Attorney appearing on behalf of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Our office is here to help you understand how to post bail so that you can be with your family and fight your case from outside of jail. If you need an experienced criminal defense attorney, contact Wimmer Criminal Defense Law by calling 215-712-1212 or visiting our website today.