Illinois Becomes the First State to End Cash Bail

A young man who had just received a scholarship to Illinois State University went out to celebrate with his friends. One of his friends brought some marijuana, and he decided to indulge. He got his car to drive home and saw police lights flashing in his rearview mirror. The police officer pulled him over and arrested him for driving under the influence of drugs. The officer spotted some marijuana in the man’s vehicle and had noticed him driving exceedingly slow.

The young man’s parents could not pay the cash bail amount to get him out of jail while he awaited trial. Unfortunately, the criminal court system in Illinois is still running behind due to the coronavirus pandemic. While this young man could be working, saving money, and preparing for college, he is now stuck in a state jail.

This type of scenario has been common in Illinois for many years. It will soon come to an end, however, as Illinois has become the first state to eliminate cash bail. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker recently signed a bill into law that contains a sweeping overhaul of criminal justice and policing practices.

Ending Cash Bail by 2023

The governor pointed out that the pandemic has hurt Black and brown people disproportionately and noted that this new law combats the pandemic of systematic racism. The law received fierce opposition, especially from law enforcement groups. The most notable portion of the new law will end cash bail by 2023 completely. Illinois will become the first state in the US to end cash bail. New York and New Jersey have limited the cash bail requirement but have not eliminated it.

Proponents of the law note that the cash bail requirement disproportionately affects low income people of color. Instead of requiring defendants to pay a monetary bail fee to be released from jail, judges will determine the suspect’s fitness for release into the general public using a risk assessment system.

All Police Officers Must Wear Body Cameras by 2025

Additionally, all Illinois police officers must wear body cameras by 2025. Police departments that do not require their officers to wear body cameras by that deadline risk losing state funding. Some smaller police departments have raised concerns about not being able to pay for the body camera requirement.

The law also includes protections for suspects after their arrest. Suspects must be able to make three phone calls before they are subjected to police questioning. The new law requires police officers to undergo additional training on the use of force. It also ends the practice of suspending a suspect’s driver’s license when they cannot pay the financial penalty of a judgment. Finally, the law requires police departments to decertify police officers who violate requirements and requires prison reform.

Contact an Experienced Cook County Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

If you have been charged with a crime in Illinois, you need a defense attorney with experience. Contact the criminal defense lawyers at Glasgow & Olsson today to schedule your initial consultation.

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