Is it time for Michigan to end its cash bail system?

Is it time for Michigan to end its cash bail system?

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It’s no secret that many claim that the legal system disproportionately affects those in poor and minority communities. One area where this disproportionate impact is clear is in Michigan’s cash bail system. For most alleged criminal offenses, accused individuals are arrested and taken to jail where they’ll either sit until their trial date or they pay a sum of money that will allow them to be released pending trial. The intent is to ensure that those who are released will actually show up for court lest they want to forfeit the bail money that they have posted.

Could change be coming?

Many people in Michigan have longed for changes to the cash bail system. They cite other ways to keep tabs on released individuals, such as by requiring home detention and utilizing substance abuse treatment. These individuals also state that the evidence doesn’t support claims that releasing individuals pre-trial renders them a flight risk. Therefore, they recommend foregoing the cash bail system altogether, as it does nothing more than incarcerates those who have yet to be convicted of a crime.

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This change comes at a local level. Many prosecutors and defense attorneys have recommended changes to the bail system, but ultimately local judges are the ones who set the terms of pre-trial release. Some have already chosen to forego cash bail in favor of other alternatives, and the movement seems to be picking up steam. This means that the cash bail system may be coming to an end sooner rather than later.

Navigating the criminal justice system

The legal system is often times in a state of flux. This can be nerve-wracking for those who have been accused of a crime and don’t know what they need to do to protect themselves. The process can seem confusing, and prosecutors can exploit the fear and the uncertainty. Don’t let this happen to you. If you want to learn more about what you can do to protect yourself throughout the process, from initial charges, to bail hearings, to settlement negotiations, to trial, then it is time to speak with an attorney who will know how to fight for you and your rights.