When the state presses criminal charges against an individual, that person may be detained in jail or another detention facility. However, Illinois law holds that most criminal offenses are bailable before conviction, meaning that defendants may be set free on bail prior to trial.
The law withholds bail “where the proof is evident” or “the presumption great” that the defendant committed one of the following offenses:
- Offenses that impose a sentence of life in prison;
- Felony offenses that impose a sentence of imprisonment without conditional or revocable release, if the court determines after a hearing that releasing the defendant would pose a real and present threat to the physical safety of one or more individuals;
- Stalking or aggravated stalking, if the court determines after a hearing that releasing the defendant would pose a real and present threat to the alleged victim’s physical safety;
- Certain unlawful use of weapons, if the court determines that releasing the defendant would pose a real and present threat to anyone’s physical safety; or
- Making a terrorist threat, if the court determines after a hearing that releasing the defendant would pose a real and present threat to anyone’s physical safety.
When a court determines that an individual may be released on bail, the judge must set conditions for release as well as the monetary bail amount. Factors that affect this determination include:
- The nature and circumstances of the offense charged;
- Whether the offense involved or threatened violence;
- Whether the offense involved corruption of public officials;
- Whether the defendant physically harmed or threatened physical harm to senior citizens, children and other protected classes of individuals;
- Whether the evidence demonstrates that the defendant possessed or used a firearm or explosive device;
- Whether the defendant has motivation or ability to flee;
- Whether the defendant is subject to deportation under federal immigration law; and
- The defendant’s criminal record, including whether he was already on bail when he allegedly committed the offense charged.
Note that, under certain conditions, the law also permits courts to release defendants on their own recognizance. This means that the defendant is released after promising to appear in court for all upcoming proceedings, and that the defendant does not have to pay bail. The promise must be in writing and is not applicable to defendants who pose a danger to the community. Failure to appear at a court proceeding is a punishable offense.
If you are charged with committing a crime in Illinois, our Will County criminal defense attorneys will do everything in our power to have you released on bail or on your own recognizance. Contact us today for a consultation. We can assist those in Frankfort, Joliet and the surrounding area.