Landmark Legislation in Illinois Abolishes Cash Bail

Michael J. Alber, Esq.

Michael J. Alber, Esq.

Michael J. Alber, Esq., is the principal of the Law Offices of Michael J. Alber, based in Long Island, New York.  His team of attorneys concentrates in criminal defense, criminal and civil appeals, post-conviction relief, and matrimonial/family law.  Stacked with former prosecutors and fierce litigators, Alber’s team represents clients throughout New York and Federal courts.  You can contact him at 877-710-7821 or

Landmark Legislation in Illinois Abolishes Cash Bail - photo

Landmark Legislation in Illinois Abolishes Cash Bail

Illinois Marks Historic Shift in Criminal Justice with the Implementation of the Pre-Trial Fairness Act

In a historic move, Illinois has become the first state to completely eliminate the use of cash bail through the enactment of the Pre-Trial Fairness Act, a pivotal component of the broader SAFE-T Act aimed at comprehensive criminal justice reform. This groundbreaking legislation, which recently took effect, signifies a significant departure from traditional pretrial procedures.

Under the provisions of the Pre-Trial Fairness Act, individuals charged with the lowest-level offenses in the state are no longer destined for a jail cell, even at a police station, following their arrest. Instead, they will typically receive a citation and a court date without the need for processing at a police facility. However, law enforcement retains the authority to detain certain individuals in cases where proper identification is lacking or when there is a perceived danger to the community. In such instances, police officers are obligated to provide a detailed rationale for the detention.

The determination of whether a defendant poses a threat to public safety now rests with judges. If a defendant is deemed not to be a public safety risk, they will be released without the imposition of any financial obligations. For those arrested for violent crimes, the decision regarding detention will typically fall within the purview of the judiciary.

Critics of the legislation, as highlighted by Fox 32 Chicago, express concerns about the potential for dangerous criminals to evade accountability and continue to commit crimes. Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow articulated these concerns, describing them as a pressing public safety issue.

Nevertheless, proponents of the Pre-Trial Fairness Act, including the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, under the leadership of Kim Foxx, stand ready to implement the new law. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle emphasized their commitment to fostering effective, equitable, and sustainable solutions that address the underlying causes of crime and violence, both in the present and for future generations.

Preckwinkle added, “The full implementation of the Pretrial Fairness Act and the end of money bond is a critical milestone on the path toward economic and racial justice in Cook County and Illinois. This important reform is long overdue. Today, we finally end the harmful practice of wealth-based pretrial incarceration and welcome a new system that centers community safety to better guarantee equal justice for all.”

Law Offices of Michael J. Alber


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