The Illinois Bail Reform Act: What Is It?

Posted on December 21st, 2020 by Danielle Giannola

In 2017, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed the Bail Reform Act into existence. At the time, it was a new statute designed to alleviate overcrowding in Illinois county jails. The Act came as a huge relief to those who weren’t able to afford the bail amount for nonviolent or minor offenses.

Our criminal defense lawyer serving Cook County and surrounding areas has further explained what you should know.

What Was Happening Before the Act?

Prior to the Bail Reform Act being passed, the State of Illinois had a cash bail system that was simply too unfair to those who cannot afford it. When someone was charged with a low-level, non-violent crime, they were spending weeks or even months in jail. They could not come up with the 10 percent down payment that was needed to be released.

In 2015 alone, there were over 1,000 Cook County Jail inmates who served additional time in custody than what they were sentenced to serve.

Understanding the New Law

Now, cash bail isn’t always required for those who have been charged for a nonviolent crime or low-level felony. Examples include drug possession, theft, prostitution, or driving under the influence.

Judges may now order a different punishment instead of jail time, such as a set curfew, drug counseling, electronic home monitoring, or stay-away orders.

Speak with a Knowledgeable Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you are facing criminal charges and you need assistance with how to move forward, we urge you to take advantage of our free consultations. Our team at Giannola Legal LLC can provide unmatched assistance to help ensure you fully understand your options.

Back to News