Recently, the Nevada Supreme Court came up with additional procedural restrictions regarding the application of cash bails on pretrial release. The Landmark court decision brought new changes that have a significant impact on Nevada's criminal justice system. Before requesting for cash bail from a person, prosecutors and judges in the lower courts have to follow a three-tiered procedure. While considering cash bail as a requirement of release, judges must consider a person's financial capability. 

The court did not prohibit bail from the pre-trial process. The changes in the bail system resulted from a legal challenge filed by plaintiffs. At the time of filing the challenge, the plaintiffs were in pre-trial custody. The court ruled against the plaintiffs who have since pleaded guilty. We at Express Bail Bonds in Las Vegas can help you understand the new limits on cash bail in Nevada and provide you with fast and reliable cash bail.  

Impacts of the New Limits on Cash Bail

Bail plays a crucial role because it allows the defendant to gain freedom from jail as he/she awaits trial. It also acts as an assurance that the defendant will show up for future court dates. Before releasing a person on bail, a judge has to ensure that the person will not pose a threat to the community. 

The limits on cash bail in Nevada will have a substantial effect on the number of people who have to post bail for a release from confinement. If a bail amount is too high, and the defendant cannot manage to pay, it robs the defendant his/her liberty and legal rights. The defendant might have to remain in confinement, yet he/she is presumed innocent. It would be unfair to deny the defendant this liberty prior to a conviction and being proven guilty. 

In the 6- to-1 ruling, a majority of the court members agree that bail would only be important to help ensure that the defendant will show up for the future court dates. Bail would also be necessary if the defendant could pose a risk to the community or to his/her family.

New Procedural Steps for Assigning a Cash Bail

Before assigning cash bail, the prosecutors must ensure that bail complies with the set standards.

Before judges and prosecutors make the bail decision, a series of factors have to be in place. Whenever it is possible, judges should evade the bail system. Prosecutors can achieve this by following these three procedures:

  • Prosecutors should hold a quick, personalized hearing to determine the custody status. During this hearing, the defendant can have an attorney to represent him/her. The defendant also has a legal right to present evidence and testify at the hearing.
  • The prosecutors also have a burden to prove that bail is the only option that can help ensure that the defendant will attend future court meetings and will not pose a risk to the community. It should be evident that a less restrictive bail alternative does not exist.
  • The law requires the district court judge to present findings of certain facts and outline the reasons for the bail decision. The judges must also consider the financial status of the defendant before recommending cash bail.

According to Christy Craig, a deputy public defender, the ruling was a sea change decision. The ruling could see poorer defendants and nonviolent offenders leave jails without cash bail. Instead of remaining in jail for their inability to post bail, these defendants will gain a release through their own recognizance. An own recognizance is a commitment that a defendant makes in writing and promises to show up for all future court dates. 

However, bail could be necessary if a defendant has an established history of not showing up for scheduled court dates. Bail could also be necessary if the defendant has limited ties to the community. 

According to Craig, setting cash bail was an indication that the defendant would not pose a threat to the community.  However, poorer people remained in custody just because they could not afford bail even if they were not a threat to the community. According to Craig, this fact did not make logical sense.

Robert Langford, a criminal defense attorney in Nevada, applauded the decision.  For a long time, Langford pushed for bail reform in Nevada. According to Langford, a judge having to make some findings to support their decisions is remarkable. According to the ruling by the court, judges have to consider the character of a defendant and his or her ties to the community. Other factors that judges consider when making the bail decision are the credit history of the defendant and the potential sentence for the alleged offense.

Judges could also consider the mental condition, character, and reputation of the defendant. The likelihood of the defendant committing additional criminal activities after release will also influence the bail decision. Other factors that judges could consider are the defendant’s history of employment and the length of residence in the community.

Defendants in Violent Crimes

According to Steve Wolfson, the District Attorney of Clark County, the ruling could have significant impacts on the court system and his office. However, Steve pointed out that he would ensure that defendants who commit violent crimes remain in jail as they await trial. Releasing violent offenders could pose a threat to the community. 

Showing of Good Cause

In its ruling, the court did not support the “good cause” portion of the state law that requires a 'good cause' before releasing a defendant without bail. This portion of the law is not in line with the right to non-excessive bail. This 'good cause' portion relieves the court its responsibility to consider less restrictive alternatives to bail before recommending bail.  The portion also excuses the State from showing that bail is the only way to ensure the defendant will appear in court.

Find a Las Vegas Bail Bonds Near Me

Despite the current limits on cash bail in Nevada, the court could still find it appropriate to impose a cash bail before your release from custody. If you do not have money to pay the bail amount, you would need a reliable bail bondsman to help you post bail. Express Bail Bonds provides the best bail bond services in Las Vegas. Contact us at 702-633-2245 and speak to one of our bail bondsmen today.