It can take a lengthy period of time for your case to make its way to trial after you are actually arrested. Even with the help of a New Orleans criminal defense lawyer trying to move things forward, several weeks or months could pass between the time of your arrest and the time your case is resolved. During this period of time while you wait, you should generally be free on bail. The problem is, not everyone is able to pay the bail that is set. Often, it is poor and middle class people who suffer under this system, while wealthier individuals get to buy their freedom. The Reno Gazette-Journal indicated that some courts have already made a shift to make the bail system more equitable. The U.S. Department of Justice, as well as some U.S. District Courts, have recognized the inequality of a system where some defendants are freed and others spend weeks incarcerated even though they have not yet actually been convicted of any offense. With success in other locations, the Nevada high court is now also considering alternatives to the current bail system. Defendants need to be aware of potential changes to the law that could affect their rights and should consult with a legal professional about what will happen to them after an arrest.
A Closer Look at the Potential Bail Alternative
According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, states that have already changed the bail system have had success with the use of a risk assessment tool to determine who should be released pending trial. The risk assessment tool is already being used in places like Colorado, among other locations, and the Nevada Chief Justice commented that “what many states have found is they can release a number of individuals on their own recognizance or under court supervision pending trial and release people much more quickly from jail than is currently taking place and not rely as much on releasing people strictly on financial conditions." The Supreme Court of Nevada has put together a committee to look for a non-biased assessment method that could reduce the number of people kept imprisoned while pending trial without adding to the risk of people not returning on their day in court. The risk-assessment system will be designed to determine who constitutes a flight risk, so those individuals who aren't in danger of leaving the area will be able to be released and continue living their lives before coming to court to deal with charges. If these changes are made, the shift could be positive, but those who are considered higher risk could find themselves facing tougher hurdles before they are released. All defendants need to understand how the bail system works and be able to make a persuasive argument for their own release -- no matter what system is used to determine who gets to go free. An experienced criminal defense lawyer in New Orleans can provide advice, guidance and assertive legal advocacy to try to help keep clients out of jail both before and after their case goes to court.