Illinois Stops Pretrial Release Bonds in Sweeping Police Reform Bill

An Illinois businessman has been working long hours from his home office trying to keep his company afloat during these challenging economic times. His wife spends long days helping their kids through their Zoom schools schedules in addition to doing her own work. The stress has the spouses at each other’s throats all the time. They have never been more angry with each other or more miserable in their marriage.

One night, after a particularly intense argument, the wife throws a plate against the wall and screams in her husband’s face. The man pushes his wife away from him, when she trips backwards and falls to the floor. She hits the edge of the kitchen counter on her way down, and now she has a gash on her arm. She calls the police, who come to their house and put the husband in handcuffs.

After being arrested, he is taken to jail. He is facing serious domestic violence charges. He may need to remain in prison while awaiting his trial or pay a cash bond to be released. After January 1, 2023, Illinois’ sweeping police law will eliminate pretrial release bonds. How will this affect defendants who are awaiting trial?

Illinois Lawmakers Want to Reduce Unnecessary Detention

The Illinois lawmakers who passed Illinois’ new police reform law want to reduce unnecessary detention. They also want to reduce the financial burden on individuals who are awaiting trial, as well as their family members. When a defendant cannot pay the bond amount, he or she must remain in jail until the trial. Pretrial detention negatively impacts an individual’s ability to build a strong legal defense. It also has minimal effects on the overall crime rate. Proponents of the law cited research that found that pretrial detention, even if it is just for a few days, will increase the likelihood of the following:

  • The defendant pleading guilty
  • The defendant being convicted
  • The defendant receiving a longer sentence
  • The likelihood that the defendant will have future criminal justice system involvement

Pretrial Process Changes in the Police Reform Bill

Illinois’ new police Reform Bill includes many changes to the pretrial process in criminal cases. Effective January 1, 2023, Illinois will totally eliminate cash bail use in pretrial release decisions. In other words, courts cannot require a suspect to pay a bond to be released from jail. Illinois will become the first state in the country to totally prohibit the use of any cash system in the pre-trial process. Instead, judges must use the least restrictive conditions necessary to ensure the defendant appears for future court proceedings.

Judges will have two options. They can release the defendant without requiring the defendant to pay money or detain him or her until the trial. When judges release suspects, they can still impose conditions on them, such as not leaving the state. When a defendant is a flight risk or the judge determines that it would be a significant safety risk to release the defendant, the judge will hold the defendant.

Contact an Illinois Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

Have you been charged with a crime in Illinois? If so, experience matters. The award-winning criminal defense lawyers at Glasgow & Olsson are here to help. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.

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