EDWARDSVILLE, ILL. – Cash bail is no longer available in Illinois starting Monday. The controversial move makes Illinois the first state in the country to eliminate the cash bail system.
Authorities say the new setup does not mean that every suspect will simply walk out of jail after they are taken into custody. However, there are significant changes that will impact who remains behind bars before a trial.
After a legal challenge from virtually every state’s attorney, Illinois’ highest court upheld the law. Here is how the new no-cash bail system will work:
We’re told that starting Monday, police must issue citations for suspects accused of low level misdemeanors; those suspects will be given a court date and released. For crimes that are more serious, where a suspect is arrested and remains in police custody, the final decision about whether that person will be released before their trial starts will be made by a judge.
It’s understood that the conditions for release will be laid out in an initial hearing.
Then the prosecutor can request that a suspect remain behind bars, and a judge will make a ruling.
Some low-level offenses that require release include petty offenses, certain misdemeanors, people charged with burglary where no one is hurt, and battery without great bodily harm. More serious offenses where suspects can remain behind bars include domestic battery, stalking, predatory criminal sexual assault, most gun charges, and murder.
Nevertheless, even suspects charged with murder are eligible for pre-trial release if a judge determines they are not a safety threat or a flight risk.
People currently in jail can also petition the court for a pre-trial release. Victims must also be notified if a suspect is being released while awaiting trial.