New Law Aims to Remove Bail Requirement for Minor Crimes

Published: Jul 28, 2017, by admin in Criminal Defense, Legal Blog

Individuals charged with minor crimes may get some relief when it comes to bail. Under the Bail Reform Act, which Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law in June, low-level crimes may not be charged a monetary bail amount or can have a new hearing regarding bail they cannot afford. This bill could be essential in enabling individuals to get out of jail while awaiting trial instead of being imprisoned for their poverty.

If you have a loved one who is currently incarcerated because they or their family members cannot come up with the bail money, call the Chicago criminal defense attorneys with O’Meara Law LLC at 312-909-0706 as soon as possible. We will thoroughly review your loved one’s situation, including options for obtaining their release.

The Illinois Bail System

The bail system is common across the country. Bail is a payment made by a defendant to secure their release from jail and to ensure they return to court when they are supposed to. If a defendant appears at their court hearing and does not try to abscond from the law, then they may be able to get their payment back. If they miss court, the payment is forfeited to the court. Some states allow defendants and their families to go to bail bondsmen who pays the amount for them. However, Illinois does not allow private bail bondsmen. An Illinois defendant must be able to pay all or a portion of the bail bond themselves or have a friend or family member who can do it for them.

While the bail system has some benefits like encouraging defendants to return to court, it has also increased the population of individuals being held in jail while awaiting their trials. The system has essentially created a debtors prison system in which individuals without income or with low incomes cannot purchase their freedom.

The Bail Reform Act

The purpose of Illinois’ new Bail Reform Act is to reduce the number of people sitting in jail simply because they cannot afford bail. Legislators, law enforcement, and prosecutor recognize the state’s bail system harshly effects the poor and people of color. The new law is meant to improve this situation.

Under this new law, individuals who have been charged with low-level crimes will not automatically be required to pay bail and can request their bail amount be reviewed if they cannot afford it. For non-violent misdemeanors and some felonies, like prostitution, drunk driving, and theft, judges can choose to require a defendant to undergo electronic home monitoring, a curfew, drug counseling, or other conditions to be released from prison instead of paying bail. If a judge chooses to require a monetary bond that the defendant cannot afford, then there must be a new hearing regarding the bail within seven days. At that time, bail can be reduced or adjusted to a non-monetary condition.

Is Your Loved One in Jail?

If you have a loved one in jail who cannot afford their bail, contact us at O’Meara Law LLC as soon as possible. We can fight to have your love one’s bail reduced or changed to a non-monetary condition. We will do whatever is in our power to prevent your loved one sitting in jail for weeks or months before their trial simply because of their financial situation.

For more information on the Illinois bail system or defending against criminal charges, contact O’Meara Law LLC at 312-909-0706.