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Will California’s New Bail System End Before It Starts?

February 1, 2019

If supporters of a new referendum have their way, the cash bail system will remain in place.

Will California’s New Bail System End Before It Starts?

In August 2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 10 (SB 10) into law. SB 10 would have abolished California’s cash bail system, relying instead on a risk assessment bail system. The new process would determine an individual defendant’s likelihood of returning for court appearances and his or her danger to the community. A pretrial assessment would categorize each person arrested as low, medium, or high risk, and release them based on this analysis.

The goal of SB 10 was to reduce both racial and economic disparities in California’s cash bail system. As a criminal defense attorney Riverside, CA can explain, in many cases, a person without access to funds would be kept in jail on relatively minor, non-violent offenses — while a person with more cash would be released even after being accused of a more serious offense. This had the effect of requiring people who cannot afford bail to stay incarcerated until (1) charges are dismissed; (2) they make a plea deal; or (3) they go to trial. For many people accused of crimes, the result is that they lose their job and even their housing.

SB 10 was set to take effect on October 1, 2019. However, Californians opposed to this new law — particularly bail bondsmen — fought back against the law. In California, if a proposed referendum on a law gathers a sufficient number of signatures, then the law must be put to the voters before the law can take effect.

For SB 10, a coalition known as Californians Against the Reckless Bail Scheme gathered 575,000 signatures in 70 days to put SB 10 on the ballot in November 2020. 365,880 signatures were needed by registered voters within 90 days in order to get the law placed on the ballot.

The effect of this successful referendum effort means that California’s cash bail system will remain in place at least through the November 2020 elections. According to an experienced criminal defense attorney Riverside, CA, if voters approve of the referendum, then the law will be overturned and the cash bail system will not be changed. If voters do not approve the referendum, then SB 10 will go into effect. The cash bail system will be abolished in favor of the risk-based assessment method.

California’s bail system can be difficult to navigate for anyone accused of a crime. Having a skilled criminal defense attorney Riverside, CA to represent you at a bail hearing can help to ensure that your bail is set at a reasonable amount given the facts of your case. Your lawyer can then work with you to establish a strong defense to the charges against you.

If you have been charged with a crime, the Chambers Law Firm can help. We are dedicated to defending clients against a range of charges in Riverside and the surrounding areas. Contact us today at 855-397-0210 or dchambers@clfca.com to schedule an initial consultation with a seasoned criminal defense attorney Riverside, CA.

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