When a person is charged with a crime, the court must decide whether that person will sit in jail awaiting trial or be released. This is a difficult balancing act because courts do not want to jail innocent people, but they also do not want victims and witnesses put in danger. Will County has specific ways of dealing with “Bail.”
What is Bail?
Bail is the monetary and non-monetary requirements set by court as conditions for release either before or after a conviction. In Illinois, a person can be kept in custody, released on his or her own recognizance, or released on bail. If released on bail, there is a bond that must be paid. Bond is simply payment to the court in order to ensure a defendant’s presence at trial. The theory is that people will be more likely to show up for trial if the court is holding their money. In Illinois the Bond is a sum of money equal to 10% of the bail and deposited with the clerk. The bond posted is security to ensure the defendant’s appearance for future court dates and compliance with all of the nonmonetary conditions of release. At the end of a defendant’s case, unless the court orders otherwise, 10% of the money posted shall be awarded to the clerk for the costs of posting bond. The remaining 90% shall be applied toward any judgement for fine, costs and restitution. At the request of the defendant, any remaining monies can be paid to the defendant’s attorney of record.
What Conditions can a Court Impose?
If released on bond, a defendant can be required to meet many terms and conditions. For instance, the following broad conditions often apply under state law:
- Show up for court appearances, as ordered
- Remain in state
- Obey the laws of all jurisdictions
- Surrender firearms, ammunition, FOID Card (for offenses involving felonies, stalking, domestic violence, and similar charges)
- Submit to psychological evaluations, medical care, or treatment
- Report to local agencies (like alcohol or drug counseling, etc.)
- Avoid communicating with certain people, like witnesses or victims
- Avoid certain places or people
- Refrain from drug or alcohol use or possession
- Undergo training, schooling, or vocational rehabilitation
- Pay child support
- Obey curfew
- Remain under supervision of a person or agency
- Be placed under direct supervision of the Pretrial Services Agency, Probation Department or Court Services Department
- Undergo alcohol or drug testing
- Use a monitoring and location device
Will County Bond Conditions
In Will County, the courts have three main kinds of bonds:
- I-Bond or Individual Bond: Allows the defendant to be free on “own recognizance,” meaning they are pledging to obey court orders and show up without having to pay any money. The dollar amount which is set with issuance of an I-Bond becomes a judgement and can be collected by the court should the defendant fail to appear or comply with any to the conditions of release.
- D-Bond or Demand Bond: In Illinois, the defendant pays 10% of the bail to the clerk and a document called a “bail bond” is executed indicating the amount of money posted, the nonmonetary conditions of bail, whether it was posted by a person other than the defendant, notice that the money may be used to pay costs, attorney’s fees, fines or other purposes authorized by the court and that it is subject to forfeiture should the defendant fail to comply with the conditions of bail. In some states, a person goes to a bail bonds agency and the agency then pays the full bail to the court and becomes responsible for the person showing up. This practice is the backdrop to the popular television series Dog the Bounty Hunter or the Fall Guy.
- C-Bond or Cash Bond: For certain class X drug charges or charges of making or attempting to make a terrorist threat, the entire bail amount must be paid before the defendant can be released from custody.
Other assets such as stocks and bonds in the full amount of the bail or real estate situated in the State that is unencumbered with double the value of the bail may be posted in lieu of the 10% cash bond. For certain traffic offenses, an individual’s driver’s license may be posted as bond.
In Gerstein v. Pugh, #73-477, 420 U.S.103 (1975), the U.S. Supreme Court stated that the Fourth Amendment requires a judicial determination of probable cause prior to an “extended restraint of liberty” after an arrest and without unreasonable delay. Under Illinois law, unreasonable delay has typically been defined as granting an accused person the right to bond hearing or “Gerstein hearing” within 48 hours of being arrested. At this hearing, the bail shall be sufficient to assure compliance with the terms of the bail bond, not oppressive, considerate of the financial ability of the accused. The State may file a written request for a hearing to determine the lawful source of any funds for bail. If unable to post the bail set by the court, the defendant can also request a reduction in the amount. The theory is that under the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, no defendant should be held on an excessive bail. A court should not set bail at such a high amount that it constitutes a punishment of its own.
Bail in Domestic Violence Cases: 72-Hour “Cooling off” Period
Bail can be especially difficult for those charged with domestic violence offenses. The court imposes a 72-hour rule that requires a person charged with domestic violence to refrain from any contact with the complaining witness. While this is the typical condition, Will County often places a more expansive condition on the defendant to have no contact with the alleged victim or the victim’s residence “until further order of court.”
Effect of Will County Bond Conditions
For defendants charged with domestic violence, the bail condition effectively can amount to an alleged offender being evicted from his or her own home for as much as four months or more while awaiting a trial. Although some defendants may have family nearby or other options, many do not. This can cause a person to lose a job and can create financial disasters for not only the alleged offender, but also make it impossible to continue supporting the alleged victim and children.
Worse yet, offenders may inadvertently violate bail by going home to get clothing for work or to pick up supplies. Violations can trigger additional criminal charges and increase potential jail terms upon conviction.
Modifying Bail/Bond Conditions
Fortunately, an experienced attorney can petition the court to modify the amount of bail and the conditions placed on the accused. Ivec Law, P.C. routinely represents defendants who are charged with criminal offenses in Will County and throughout Illinois. Call (815) 439-9909 to speak with attorney JohnPaul Ivec today.