Passed in the summer of 2017, the Bail Reform Act took effect in Illinois on Jan. 1. The new law requires courts within the state to consider a defendant’s financial situation when determining if he or she should post bail to be released. It also requires that the court consider the threat a person may face before requiring bail as a condition of release.
Individuals may be eligible for recognizance bonds if they are charged with nonviolent or minor crimes. In Adams County, this may be determined by a threat score, which takes into account the likelihood that an individual shows up to court or could be taken into custody again while out on bond. Even if a person is released on his or her own recognizance, the state may be able to place conditions on the defendant such as home monitoring or a curfew.
An attorney must be present at an initial hearing regardless of why an individual was taken into custody. Those who are charged with violent crimes, sex crimes and domestic battery are not covered by the new law. The law does have some critics, including the presiding judge in Champaign County. He says that his judges already set reasonable bail and that the law attempts to fix problems that don’t exist.
Individuals who are facing any sort of criminal charge may be handed significant consequences. It may be a good idea to talk with an attorney to create defenses against the charge. An attorney may also help an individual obtain favorable conditions for his or her release such as receiving a recognizance bond or facing few restrictions while awaiting the resolution of a case. In some cases, charges may be reduced or dropped entirely prior to a trial.