ARRESTED FOR A FELONY IN COOK COUNTY? WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER THE ARREST & BOND HEARINGEveryone knows what happens when you get arrested. You’ve seen on TV, on Cops, or any one of the numerous reality law enforcement shows. The cops show up, the cuffs go on, and in the squad car you go. You get sent down to the station, booked into the jail, and the cell door closes. But what happens after that? How long before you get to see a Judge? More importantly, how long before you get out? That depends on what you are charged with. If you are charged with felony, for example, Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon, or any felony for the matter whether or not a gun is involved, the law requires you go before a Judge for a bond hearing prior to any release. On the other hand, when you are arrested for a misdemeanor, the police can give you a bond at the station. Whether or not someone gets charged with a felony or a misdemeanor obviously depends on the evidence, but there is a process after every arrest. When the police think you’ve committed a felony, that process can be confusing and frustrating.
THE ARREST:Probably the biggest question for a person (or his family) who just got arrested is: When am I getting out of jail? The short answer: You’ll get to find out within 48 hours. Why do you have to wait up to 48 hours? According to the United States Supreme Court, you are entitled to a “fair and reliable determination of probable cause” before or promptly after arrest. Gerstein v. Pugh, 420 U.S. 103, 125 (1975). When are you entitled to this? Again, the United States Supreme Court. In 1991, the highest court in the land defined this time period as 48 hours under a case called City of Riverside v. McLaughlin, 500 U.S. 44, 56 (1991). 48 hours is the general rule, it’s not always the case. Sometimes you’ll get in front of a judge within 6 hours, sometimes it will take 23.5 hours. And of course, as with anything in law, there’s always an exception that can put you past that 48 hours. BUT, as a general rule of thumb, the law is clear that the police have 48 hours to get you in front of a judge or let you go. Be that without charging you, or with only a misdemeanor. Two things occur during this 48 hour time limit:
- The police can use it to interrogate you. They use this to their advantage to question you and try and build up their case for an arrest.
- The Felony Review Process. When the police arrest you for a felony, they have to get permission from the State’s Attorney before you actually get charged with that crime. They do this through a process known as “Felony Review.” The police call the prosecutor on call, present them the alleged facts, and the prosecutor gives the thumbs up or thumbs down. This process can take some time depending on when you get arrested based on the shifts of the prosecutors and detectives investigating the case. *For drug related felonies, the police need not go through this process and can charge these felonies themselves/absent any review from the prosecutor. (Additionally, misdemeanor offenses require no such review. Meaning that if the prosecutor declines the felony charges, the police can still charge the person with misdemeanor offenses.)
THE HEARING:Whether or not you’re going to a bond hearing before you get released depends on two things: Is it a felony or a domestic violence offense? If yes, you’re going to a bond hearing. If no, no hearing is necessary. Under Illinois law, the Judge is technically supposed to consider 36 things when setting a bond. 725 ILCS 5/110-5(a). In reality, they consider 2 things: Are you a danger to the community? & Will you return to Court? What Happens During the Hearing: The Judge will start by asking if you are the person named in the criminal complaint. After that, the Judge will read the probable cause affidavit and make a finding of probable cause to charge you. The Judge will then permit the State’s Attorney (prosecutor) to present the alleged facts of the case as well as your criminal history. The Judge will then allow your attorney to present facts about you on your behalf. Generally, your attorney will not be allowed to argue against the alleged facts at this point. Your attorney is limited to presenting why you’ll come back to court and what you can or can’t post for bond. They’re going to tell the Judge your ties to the community, where you’re employed, what you make what your expenses are, how many dependents you have, where you live, your education, and why you need to make bond. After hearing from your attorney, if the county has PreTrial Services, they will make a recommendation. At this point, the Judge will then set bond. In Cook County, there are 4 types of bonds: No bond, a “C bond”, a “D bond”, and an “I bond.” No bond means exactly that. A “C (cash) bond” is a bond that requires the exact amount be posted for release. A “D (deposit) bond” means 10% of the bond amount needs to be posted for release. An “I bond” means no money is needed for release. In other counties, this is often referred to as a “personal recognizance” bond. THE STATS: BOND HEARINGS & GUN OFFENSES What about gun offenses? What type of bond can you expect for an Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon? Or any type of firearm offense? Gun violence is the issue in Chicago criminal justice right now. Everyone from President Trump to Mayor Lightfoot on down has an opinion on it, and none of it’s good. Turn on the news every Monday and you’re going to hear about the amount of people shot and killed over the weekend. That’s a norm the police and prosecutors are trying to stop. To that end, the CPD created the GUN OFFENDER DASHBOARD. While it’s creation is not without its critics (the Cook County Public Defender’s Office considers it a violation of the presumption of innocence), it provides raw data for what typically happens at bond hearings for felony gun offenses. This data basically covers this past summer, with a timeline of 5/1/2019 to 8/25/2019. According to the Dashboard:
- 1538 people were arrested for firearm related offenses
- 872 (57%) received a bond
- 477 C or D bonds
- 348 I bonds
- 411 of these offenders had prior history of felony weapons offenses
- 647 (42%) received no bond
- 8 (.52%) cases where the State dropped the case at the bond hearing