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Will Cash Bail Be Eliminated in Illinois Soon?

 Posted on May 01, 2023 in Uncategorized


Many people believe that cash bail systems disproportionately affect certain groups of people and have the potential to harm communities as a whole. As a result of these concerns, Illinois was set to become the first state in the U.S. to completely eliminate cash bail for criminal defendants on January 1, 2023. However, a legal challenge to that policy shift means that the fate of the state’s cash-bail prohibition is now in limbo.

What the Future May Hold

In 2021, Illinois state lawmakers passed the SAFE-T Act, which – among other policy shifts – altered the ways in which criminal courts across the state could approach the issue of pretrial detainment. If the new rules regarding cash bail are enacted, the legislation will compel courts to treat presumption of release as the default in most criminal matters. This presumption will eliminate financial considerations in determinations of who should benefit from pretrial release and who should be subjected to pretrial detention as a matter of public safety.

Under the new law, only defendants accused of forcible felonies and those who “pose a specific, real and present threat to a person, or (who have) a high likelihood of flight" may be subjected to pretrial detention.

However, this law is being challenged by parties who argue that – because the state’s constitution mentions “bail” twice – any meaningful shift in the policy treatment of bail cannot be enacted via ordinary legislation but, instead, must be enacted via a constitutional amendment. The cash bail prohibition has been paused and the state’s supreme court is now considering the merits of the case.

Contact Our Joliet Criminal Defense Lawyer to Learn More

Regardless of whether the SAFE-T Act becomes law, it will remain important for criminal defendants in Illinois to seek legal guidance as soon as they possibly can after they have been accused of wrongdoing. Even the most minor misstep on the part of a defendant could compromise the strength of their case. As a result, individuals who have been arrested should request to speak with a skilled Will County, IL criminal defense lawyer right away, even before a determination about pretrial detention has been made.

At The Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C., we are proud to offer free legal consultations because our team believes that everyone who is facing criminal prosecution deserves to understand their rights and options under the law. To learn more about our firm’s approach to criminal defense strategy and representation, you can submit a contact form on our website or call us at 815-740-4025 at any time. We look forward to hearing from you.

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