The state of New Hampshire is finally eyeing a change to its bail system, which has long been stacked against poor people. The judicial system is taking a look at the 3DaysCount campaign, which aims at reducing the number of people being held in pretrial detention simply because they cannot afford the cost of posting bail. If adopted, the change could work wonders for the world of criminal defense.
The Problem of Bail
If you get arrested for a relatively serious crime, you’ll be held in jail as a guarantee that you will be there for your arraignment. At the arraignment, though, the judge will “set bail”: He or she will look at a handful of factors – including the seriousness of your crime and the perceived likelihood that you will try to disappear before trial – and decide how much money you will have to post in order to get out of jail until trial. If you then fail to show up at a court hearing, that bail money will be forfeited to court. If you make it through trial without an absence, it will be returned to you.
The idea behind bail is that it allows people to live their normal lives while awaiting trial while still giving the criminal justice system a semblance of certainty that you will not try to run away.
The problem with bail is that a lot of the people who get arrested do not have the means to make bail and so are bound to languish in jail for months while they wait for trial, even if they are innocent. Worse, many people who are unable to make bail will plead guilty -– often to a crime they did not commit -– simply to get out of jail and back to their life.
New Hampshire Now Eyeing a Change
The program emphasizes the importance of the first three days after a suspect’s arrest. This small amount of time in jail is all that it takes to turn a suspect’s life upside-down: It strains family connections and living situation, and typically guarantees that he or she will lose whatever job he or she has at the time of the arrest. These stressors are often enough to turn a low-risk suspect into a high-risk one who is more likely to turn to committing another crime just to stay afloat.
Criminal Defense Attorneys at Tenn And Tenn, P.A.
The news that bail is up for a reform in New Hampshire is exciting. Successfully changing how we bail people will go a long way towards putting the justice back in the justice system.
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, you need a criminal defense attorney to defend you in a court of law. Call the NH criminal defense attorneys at the Manchester law office of Tenn And Tenn, P.A. at (888) 511-1010 or contact us online.