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New bail requirements could hurt the poor and people of color

On Behalf of | Aug 23, 2021 | Criminal Defense

For someone who is accused of a federal crime, such as a gun crime, being able to access bail, and pay it, is important to avoid unnecessary jail time. Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick has stepped forward to emphasize that judges and prosecutors should have the option of using their discretion when determining custody issues prior to a trial.

Gun violence has increased in New York City, and the city reported more shooting victims between January and May than in comparable times during the last 10 years. Governor Andrew Cuomo declared that gun violence in the state was a disaster emergency, which allowed law enforcement to increase its presence. New programs, such as anti-gun violence programs, were also to be invested in.

Gun crimes did not always require bail

While weapons crimes don’t always require brail, the new bail laws would allow prosecutors to ask for cash bail on those that do not. For example, failing to store a rifle safely could result in a bail requirement under the reform package.

Cash bail is a hot topic because many people believe that it is discriminatory against people of color and the poor. They may not have the financial means to cover bail, and so they would not be able to return to their communities while awaiting trial.

Not all crimes require people to pay bail, and they shouldn’t. Increasing the number of people who need to pay bail could be harmful to communities of people who already struggle. If you face allegations of gun violence, knowing if you will need to pay bail is important to your case. You may want to discuss your situation with your attorney to see how you can avoid unnecessary jail time leading up to a trial.