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Illinois Courts Adjusting to State's New Bail Reform Law

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Courts across Illinois have had about a month to adjust to the requirements of the new bail reform law that took effect Jan. 1.

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the Bail Reform Act in the summer that requires courts to consider a detainee's circumstances when setting conditions of release or imposing monetary bail.

The law requires a lawyer to be present at the initial court appearance for anyone arrested. The law aims to release defendants without requiring they post cash bail if they don't pose a reasonable threat to the community and are unlikely to flee.

The new law could allow more people facing nonviolent misdemeanor or low-level felonies, such as theft and drug possession to be released on recognizance bonds. It doesn't apply to those facing charges for violent crimes, sex crimes and domestic batteries.

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