(UPDATED 1/16/24:  Illinois eliminated cash bond as of September 18, 2023.  But you can still be held in jail before trial if the state can show certain criteria.  It is still a good idea to hire an attorney to argue for your release.  See our related post at What to Expect at Your Illinois Bond Hearing Now that Cash Bail is Abolished and  What You Should Know About Illinois’s New Law Ending Cash Bail.)

The answer is yes. An experienced criminal law attorney can present your situation in the light most favorable to a judge, which could mean the difference between waiting for your trial inside the county jail or out.

If you are arrested for a crime in Illinois, there are three types of bonds, an I-bond, D-bond and C-bond. If you are charged with a lesser offense, you might be released on an I-bond at the time of your arrest. An I-bond means you do not have to pay money or wait for a court hearing. You are allowed to go on your own recognizance.

If your charges are more serious or you have a past criminal history, you may be held in jail until the next business morning for a bond hearing. At that hearing, you may be ordered to pay either a D- or C-bond, or the judge may refuse to grant bond at all so that you must remain in jail. A D-bond means you must pay 10% of whatever amount the judge sets as bond. For example, if the bond is $10,000, you must come up with $1,000 to be released from jail. There are no bail bondsmen in the State of Illinois, so you will need to get that money from your own resources.

If your crime or criminal history is particularly bad, you may have to pay a C-bond, which is the entire amount set by the judge. A C-bond can be set so high that is like having no bond at all.

If you cannot pay your C- or D-bond, you will be held in jail until the disposition of your case by trial or plea agreement.

While having an attorney does not guarantee that you will be set free, an attorney can help persuade the judge to set a lower bond or to allow some other arrangement such as home monitoring. An attorney who is familiar with the judges in your courthouse is likely to have a better idea than most clients on what arguments are likely to sway a judge. If you cannot afford an attorney, a public defender will be assigned for purposes of the bond hearing.

If you have questions about this or another related criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

For information on posting bond, visit our website at Where to Post Bond.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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