NEW Bill Make Eliminates Monetary Bail in California (SB-10)

On August 28, 2018, Governor Jerry Brown approved Senate Bill No. 10 (SB-10), making California the first state to eliminate monetary bail. [1]

SB-10 will repeal all existing laws regarding bail and would require, commencing October 1, 2019, persons arrested and detained to be subject to a pretrial risk assessment conducted by Pretrial Assessment Services.

“Pretrial Assessment Services” will be an entity, division or program that is assigned the responsibility of assessing the risk level of charged persons and to report the results of the risk determination to the court and make recommendations for conditions of release of the defendant pending adjudication of their criminal matter. Persons will be designated as either: low risk, medium risk, or high risk and their risk classification will determine the pretrial procedure they must undergo to determine whether or not they will be released pending adjudication of their matter.

Under SB-10 persons arrested or detained for a misdemeanor (with certain exceptions) would be booked and released without being required to submit to a risk assessment by Pretrial Assessment Services. Further, those assessed as a “low risk” by the Assessment Services would be released on his or her own recognizance, with certain exceptions.

Penal Code section 1320.10 outlines the persons and circumstances under which Pretrial Assessment Services must not release. For example, Pretrial Services must not release: those assessed as a high risk; persons arrested for an offense listed in Penal Code section 290(d)(2) or (3); persons arrested for misdemeanor offenses under Penal Code section 273.5, Section 243(e)(1), Section 646.9; persons arrested for a felony offense that includes, as an element, physical violence, threat of violence, or the likelihood of great bodily injury; as well as persons with three or more prior warrants for failure to appear within the previous 12 months.

According to SB-10, the prosecutor may file a motion seeking detention of the defendant pending trial under certain circumstances and the defendant is entitled to be represented by counsel at a hearing on this motion. Under this bill there is a presumption that the court will release the defendant on his or her own recognizance at arraignment with the least restrictive nonmonetary conditions that will reasonably assure public safety and the defendant’s return to court.

It is clear that by enacting SB-10 the California Legislature is attempting to expand the number of accused persons that are released on their own recognizance during the pendency of criminal proceedings.


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[1] Visit the following link for the full text: