The hours you are in jail waiting for your bail hearing can be nerve-racking. You do not know if or when you will get out or what will happen next.
When a judge decides to grant bail or other conditions for release, it is to demonstrate your commitment to show up at your next court appearance. Unfortunately, sometimes a judge has reasons not to grant conditions for your release.
Here’s what the judge considers when deciding that a defendant should be held without bail.
Getting released in Illinois
In many states, judges evaluate whether a defendant is a threat to the safety of the community and whether they are likely to flee before their next court appearance. In cases where someone has a dangerous history or lacks ties to the community, a judge would decide to have that person held until their next court appearance.
In Illinois, the standard is different. In most cases, the Court will set bail even if you have been charged with a serious crime. There are, however, limited circumstances when the Court insists you be held without bail when there is a great presumption of guilt for certain crimes such as:
- Capital offenses
- Felony offenses that could carry a life sentence without conditional release
- Aggravated stalking where there is a real and present threat to the physical safety of the alleged victim
- Unlawful use of weapons in or near a school
- Terroristic threats
While the list is limited, there is some discretion as to whether the Court finds it appropriate to hold you without bail.
It is essential to understand the goal in a bail hearing or arraignment. The primary goal of the arraignment hearing is to enter a plea to move the process forward.
While you will enter a plea, typically “not guilty,” building a defense usually comes later in the process, after you have time to work with your attorney.
Defending your innocence happens at the next stages of the process. The purpose of an arraignment is to enter your plea to move the process forward and help you get your conditions for release.