Two New Laws Regarding Bail Coming to Illinois

Posted on in Criminal Law

bail, new laws, Illinois criminal defense lawyerTwo new laws regarding fees collected for bail is going to cost Cook County approximately $5 million in lost revenue every year. Lawmakers who pushed for the measure say these laws will especially protect those defendants who are poor and often do not have the funds when it comes to posting bail.

The first bill passed and signed into law addresses the amount of money counties can collect on bail. Previously, when a person was arrested and qualified to be released on bail, they would forfeit 10 percent of the bail amount as a processing fee. The county kept that processing fee whether or not the person was actually ever convicted for the crime or not. For example, a person who was arrested for a crime has their bail set at $5,000. Under current laws, the person is also responsible for a $500 processing fee. The person is later found innocent of the crime they were charged with. The $5,000 is returned, minus $500 kept by the county as the processing fee.

Under the new law, all bail processing fees are capped at $100 – whether bail set is for $1,000 or $1 million. Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey, who helped get the bill passed, said he wants to see a future law passed which would refund that fee to those defendants who are either have charges dismissed or are found not guilty.

The second bill passed into law puts limits on how long a defendant who is charged with a low-level crime but cannot afford bail can sit in jail. Cook County jail, for example, has hundreds of defendants who qualify to be released on bail until their trials but they cannot afford even low bail amounts. Instead, they sit in jail for weeks, sometimes months, waiting for their cases to be heard by the court.

The new law will create a separate court for those charged with crimes such as trespassing or low-level shoplifting. If a defendant cannot make bail and their case has not been held within 30 days of their arrest, the Sherriff can release them.

If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, contact an experienced Arlington Heights criminal defense attorney. Call Attorney Scott F. Anderson at 847-253-3400 to schedule a free initial consultation today.