When it comes to how the justice system handles criminal charges, California is a place of change. Our state just eliminated cash bails, and even more criminal justice reforms are on the way. What will these bills change? Will they affect your case if you are ever arrested?
How is eliminating bail going to change California?
On August 28, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill (SB) 10 into law and changed the way California's bail system worked. Before the bill was signed, judges in each county would decide on a bail amount based on the crime committed. The new bill changes that. Counties across California must develop a “risk-based” analysis system to determine the likelihood that someone will return for court hearings. Those at low risk of fleeing will be released under non-monetary restrictive conditions.
Though the law isn't specific, these conditions could range from required check-ins to ankle monitors. People with a higher risk of fleeing or re-arrest could be issued more restrictive conditions or may remain in custody. This means money will no longer be the main factor when determining if a person should be released from jail. However, that's not the only big shift coming to the California justice system.
What will new criminal justice reforms change?
Gov. Brown just signed several additional bills into law that will change the way criminal justice works in our state:
- SB 439 establishes 12 years as the minimum age for juvenile court prosecutions except in cases of rape or murder;
- SB 1391 prevents teens under the age of 16 from being tried as adults;
- The Governor also signed SB 1421, which makes police disciplinary records available to the public; and
- Assembly Bill 748 forces police departments to release body camera footage within 45 days of a use-of-force or shooting incident.
These new measures could keep childhood mistakes from ruining entire lives. These changes could even open up new sources of evidence that could help prove a person's innocence. Additional criminal justice reforms could be on the way in California. Having an attorney that understands these changes could be important to your case in this time of change.