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Illinois Supreme Court Allows for the Elimination of Cash Bail

 Posted on August 10, 2023 in Criminal Defense

Northbrook pretrial detention attorneyIn 2021, the Illinois General Assembly passed the Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today (SAFE-T) Act, which made a number of reforms to the state’s criminal justice system. Some of the most notable changes were known as the Pretrial Fairness Act, which eliminated cash bail for people who are arrested and charged with crimes. While this provision was originally meant to go into effect on January 1, 2023, legal challenges have been raised, and courts halted the implementation of these changes to the law. However, a recent ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court will allow the law to go into effect.

On July 18, 2023, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the Pretrial Fairness Act is constitutional. The court stated that the provisions of the law maintain the balance between the rights of criminal defendants and the rights of crime victims that is required by the Illinois Constitution. The stay on the implementation of the Pretrial Fairness Act will be lifted on September 18, 2023, and as of that date, cash bail will be abolished in Illinois.

Reforms Put in Place by the Pretrial Fairness Act

The new law has made a number of changes to the way pretrial detention will be handled in Illinois. One of the most significant changes is the complete elimination of cash bail. People who are arrested will no longer be required to make monetary payments to the court before they can be released. Instead of bond hearings, pretrial detention hearings will be held in which a judge may consider various factors to determine whether a person should be released into the community or held in confinement while awaiting trial. 

This change is meant to ensure that people who are charged with violent crimes cannot be released after paying a certain amount of money, and it will not require people charged with non-violent offenses to remain in prison simply because they cannot afford to pay bail. Judges will need to specify why a defendant may be required to remain in confinement, including because a person is believed to be a flight risk or because they may present a danger to public safety. While risk assessment tools may be used to help determine whether a person should be detained or released, these tools cannot provide the sole basis for a decision, and defendants must be informed of their risk assessment scores.

Judges can also implement conditions of release, including placing a person on home confinement or requiring them to undergo electronic monitoring. If a person is accused of violating the conditions of pretrial release, they may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.

Other changes that will be implemented by the Pretrial Fairness Act include the requirement to notify crime victims of a pretrial detention hearing and their right to obtain an order of protection against the defendant. In cases involving low-level offenses, including Class B and Class C misdemeanors, traffic violations, or petty or business offenses, police officers may issue citations rather than performing arrests, and court dates to address these charges will be scheduled within 21 days. 

Contact Our Rolling Meadows Pretrial Detention Hearing Attorney

Once the Pretrial Fairness Act goes into effect, people who are arrested may encounter confusion about how their cases will be handled and whether they can be released from custody during their cases. At The Law Offices of Matthew R. Gebhardt, P.C., our Lake County criminal defense lawyer can provide representation in pretrial detention hearings, advocating for the rights of those who have been arrested and ensuring that the proper measures will be taken to allow them to be released quickly. We can also provide experienced, dedicated representation to help defend against criminal charges and resolve these matters successfully. Contact our firm at 847-239-4703 to schedule a free consultation today.





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