Cash bail has long been a mainstay of the U.S. legal system. After all, the basic premise behind it is simple. After you have been arrested, you pay a sum of money to earn your freedom - and the money is returned to you if you follow the rules and show up for trial. Put simply, cash bail is a tool used by the court to incentivize you to stick to the terms of your pre-trial release.
However, there are a number of very important reasons why states such as California, New Jersey, and Arizona have been eliminating or restricting the use of the cash bail system. The largest such reason is that it discriminates against people who do not have the financial ability to post bail. While rich people can simply pay their bail and go home, less well off people must sit in a jail cell and await their trial.
Unfortunately, being confined to a cell until your trial date isn't just inconvenient - it can actually have an impact on the outcome of your case. Indeed, one study found that pre-trial detention increased the odds of being convicted from 44 percent to 58 percent. In other words, not being able to post bail can potentially lead to a lengthy prison sentence.
In fact, a second study even found that defendants who were unable to post bail are more likely to find themselves immersed in a life of crime after they have been released. This is due, in no small part, to the fact that jails and prisons are the perfect places to make friends with individuals who can introduce you to such a life.
Considering the many issues faced by pre-trial detainees, it is no surprise that they are less likely to find work in the future than their bailed-out counterparts. IRS data shows that employment rates continue to be reduced even three or four years after the initial trial.
If you are facing a bail hearing in the near future, you will undoubtedly want to avoid finding yourself in the situation outlined here. As such, you will need a skilled and experienced defense attorney by your side. At Shapiro Zwanetz and Lake, we have been helping the people of Maryland with the legal battles for more than 50 years - and we are ready to help you as well. To schedule an initial consultation, simply give us a call at (410) 927-5137.