WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ILLINOIS’S NEW LAW ENDING CASH BAIL

The SAFE-T Act went into effect September 18, 2023.  The Act eliminated cash bond but allows a judge to keep you in jail if the state can meet certain criteria. Because a new law is bound to cause confusion, there has been a flurry of appellate court cases under the Act.  Here are some takeaways from those cases:

*The fact you committed a violent offense by itself is not enough to deny pretrial release.  The state must still show by clear and convincing proof that lesser conditions of release would not protect the community. See People v. Stock.

*The state can appeal if you are allowed out before trial.  The appellate court reversed allowing the defendant out on electronic home monitoring and permitting him to remain as a farm supervisor as long as he stayed 500 feet away from minor children.  The defendant was charged with sexually assaulting and abusing minors. The court said there was no way to enforce the 500-foot restriction.  See People v. Willenborg.

*The state needs to give you copies of your criminal history before the hearing. See People v. Mezo.

*A judge cannot revoke your pretrial release because you missed a court date.  However, the court can revoke it if you commit a felony or Class A misdemeanor or violate an order of protection.   People v. Barner

* If you challenge the conditions of pretrial release which were set before September 18, 2023, you reopen those conditions under the SAFE-T Act.  The only way a money bond can remain as a condition is if the you elect to stand on the original terms of your bond. If the you ask the court to reconsider, the court can either order your release with nonmonetary conditions or you’re your release altogether.  See People v. Davidson.

*If you are a threat to one person, that is enough to satisfy the Acts requirement that you are a threat to the community. See People v. Battle.

*Look carefully at whether your offense fits the definition of detainable. In People v. Grandberry, the defendant was originally detained based on aggravated battery, however, aggravated battery is only detainable if it causes great bodily harm or disfigurement. Defendant’s charge was aggravated because the victims were a police officer and a nurse and the state did not allege great bodily harm.  Therefore, the court said defendant should be released.     

If you or your loved one have been charged with a DUI or criminal-related offense, consider hiring an attorney for your detention hearing.  An attorney can look for weaknesses in the state’s petition to keep you in jail.  Did you commit a detainable offense?  Did the state follow procedures?  Even if the reasons for detaining you are strong, an attorney can argue you to release you on less restrictive conditions such as electronic home monitoring.

 If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email matt@mattkeenanlaw.com.

See our related web page at New Rules on 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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