California Replaces Cash-Bail System with a Risk Algorithm

Reforming the bail system in California has been a heated topic for nearly half of a century. The cash-bail system has been criticized as biased toward those who can afford to pay for their release. It is scrutinized for keeping the poor imprisoned and for challenging the constitutional right of being seen as innocent until proven guilty. California is the only state that has rid their justice system of cash-bail.

What is a Cash-Bail System?

Cash bail is the policy of paying a price to pledge that you will show up to your court date. Unless a judge regards a defendant ineligible for release, a defendant can pay for their release until they have to show up in court

The problem lies in the fact that many people cannot pay the price instated for release. This could easily mean that a defendant awaiting trial, who has not been proven guilty, will stay incarcerated from the time of arrest until the case is presented and solved in court.

What Will the New System Look Like?

The California Money Bail Reform Act abolishes the cash-bail system altogether. Under the new law, people arrested and charged won’t have to worry about figuring out a means to pay their bail for release. Rather, each county will have their own algorithm, or a grading system, which will be used to decide who to keep in custody and who to release while awaiting trial.

The algorithm will be based on risk-assessment: who is likely to skip trial if released and/or who could be dangerous to the public if released before trial. People arrested for nonviolent misdemeanors are estimated to be released within 12 hours.

The deadline for adopting these new algorithms is October 2019. Each county has the choice to use a system from a third-party contractor or to develop and implement their own system.

If you have questions about a criminal offense, our criminal defense attorneys could help you. Hammerschmidt Law Corporation has years of experience helping people stand up against criminal charges. Don’t Wait – Call us today at (559) 258-2298 or fill out our online contact form.