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There is a reason why people in California and all across the United States are discussing bail reform. As you may or may not know, the bail system in California is far from perfect.
Our Los Angeles criminal defense attorney at Okabe & Haushalter explains that although the bail system has its pros and cons, it is actually abundant with flaws that trigger speculation among lawmakers.
Many of our readers complain that due to the bail system in California, they are being imprisoned before they are found guilty or innocent. Those who have enough money to bail are able to “pay” for their early release from jail without having to wait for final judgment, while those lacking sufficient finances to post bail have no choice but to remain imprisoned until the final judgment.
Thus, the defendants’ basic right – “innocent until proven guilty” – is violated because they have to remain incarcerated before they get the chance to prove their innocence. As a result, the bail system creates an unfair system in which defendants who have money to spare can get out of jail while awaiting final judgment. Those with little to no money, on the other hand, do not have this opportunity.
After long years of trying to reform the money bail system, California is slowly gravitating toward eliminating the system altogether. In December 2016, the Bail Reform Bill was introduced by the California Legislature. Not long ago, it was finally approved by outgoing Governor Jerry Brown. The new law, which effectively eliminates the money bail system, will go into effect on October 1, 2019.
Our experienced criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles says that California is the first state to get rid of the cash bail system. “But how will the new bail system work starting from October 1, 2019?” you might be wondering. Well, first and foremost, the new bail system will make it impossible for defendants to pay cash bail in order to be released from jail.
Instead, it will be up to judges to decide whether to release a defendant from jail prior to final judgment. To make this happen, judges will conduct a pre-trial risk assessment to give each defendant a “risk score” and figure out how risky or dangerous they are if released from jail prior to conviction by trial, plea, or dismissal.
The validated risk assessment tool will also be used by judges to evaluate the risk of a defendant’s evasion of the charges. Currently, the new bail system has three categories: low, medium, and high risk. Therefore, a defendant will no longer be able to post bail to be released from jail prior to final judgment.
That means all those bail bond companies in California will be out of work since October 1, 2019.
Based on the names of the categories in the new bail system in California, defendants will be assigned a “high risk” score if the judge believes there is a high risk that the individual will not appear for future hearings or he or she is dangerous to the community due to being previously arrested for another crime while released for the current crime. In that case, defendants who are assigned a high risk will not be able to secure release from jail until final judgment due to being incarcerated in the interests of justice or public safety.
Defendants with a medium and low risk are those who pose a minimal or medium risk, respectively, that they will not show up for future hearings or will pose a threat to public safety.
If you are having difficulties posting bail to get released from jail prior to final judgment, speak to our Los Angeles criminal defense attorney at Okabe & Haushalter. Let our lawyers help you prove your innocence before it is too late. Schedule a free consultation by calling at 310-430-7799.