Pretrial Detention, Poverty & Bail in the U.S.

January 7, 2020

Poverty is the primary factor in determining an individual’s legal consequences according to a Human Rights Watch report

Poverty & Bail Legal Consequences in the United StatesThis report called “The Price of Freedom,” compiled by Human Rights Watch confirmed and bolstered by other studies conducted by experts from Harvard, Stanford, and Princeton which also found that holding individuals in jail before their trial greatly increases the chances that the person will plead guilty.

Bail is used as Ransom to extract Guilty Pleas

The reason for this is explained by the executive director of the National Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers, Norman Reimer. He states that “bail is used as ransom in order to extract guilty pleas.” When an individual is unable to make bail, they can’t work and generate an income for their families or their potential legal fees and costs. Furthermore, their ability to fight any charges they are facing is severely damaged as a result of their rights being greatly reduced while they are incarcerated.

The poor are much more likely to plead guilty

According to Senator Elizabeth Warren, the U.S. has two legal systems: “one for the rich and powerful, and one for everyone else.” Sadly, statistics strongly confirm Senator Warren’s assertion. Defendants who do not have the financial ability to post bail on non-felony charges are held in pretrial detention or in jail often for months. The above-mentioned studies clearly show that his group is much more likely to plead guilty, and some suffer jail time without ever being convicted of the crime they are being held for. On the other hand, those who can afford bail are more likely to never spend time in jail and to be found not guilty.

The Importance of Posting Bail for those accused of crimes

It is difficult to understate the importance of posting bail if you have been accused of a crime. When a person is locked up there are many freedoms that are no longer available to them.

Four reasons to post bail as soon as possible:

You can speak with a lawyer and properly prepare for court

The Importance of Posting Bail for those accused of crimesWithout a doubt, one of the most important reasons a person should bail out as soon as they can is that they can find a lawyer that will work with them to properly prepare a defense. No matter the charge they are facing, whether it is a shoplifting or something more heinous, a person needs to be able to speak with an attorney about their options in regard to the situation in order to obtain the best possible outcome.

You can continue working

For many who find themselves locked up one of their greatest concerns is the fact that they can’t work. This can lead to financial hardships such as increased debt, dismissal from their job and even loss of property. Put simply, when a person is released on bail they can continue supporting themselves and their families. Furthermore, should they end up having to return to jail, they can make agreements with their employer that will hopefully allow them to keep their job.

If you are a student, you can continue your studies

If the defendant is a student missing even a few days of school, whether in public school, technical college or university, it can be detrimental not only to the learning process but to their educational future. For university students, this can translate to lost money if paid for classes cannot be attended and passed due to the fact that the student is incarcerated.

You can make life arrangements

If there is a chance that an individual will be in jail for an extended amount of time following their trial it is important that they are released on bail in order to take care of future problems. To cite but a few examples: credit scores can be ruined due to missed bill payments, houses can go into foreclosure, cars can be repossessed and so on and so forth. When a person is released on bail it gives them time to get their affairs in order for their time away.

It is important to know that an experienced criminal defense attorney can be an invaluable asset when it comes to defending your rights and obtaining a bail that you can afford. The incredible volume of clients that most public defenders are obligated to defend often does not allow them to gain the most optimal outcomes for all their clients.

Consult a seasoned Criminal Defense Team of Attorneys in Monmouth County NJ

If you or a loved one has been arrested it is critical to have effective legal counsel and representation as soon as possible. At Chamlin, Uliano & Walsh, our team of attorneys is experienced in supporting and fiercely representing our clients who are facing criminal charges in Red Bank, Freehold, Long Branch, and Monmouth County.  No matter your situation you don’t have to confront it alone.

To connect with our firm today in a confidential and comprehensive assessment of your case, please contact us online, or through our West Long Branch office at 732-440-3950. We look forward to supporting you.