Changes in Arkansas Bail Bond Requirements and What to Expect in 2024
As we near the quarter-century milestone, Arkansas is poised for a legislative shift as the new year approaches. Among the notable changes on the horizon is the enactment of Senate Bill 495, commonly referred to as the Protect Arkansas Act. This legislation, scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2024, focuses on stricter regulations concerning bail within the state. You never know if you or a loved one may face a situation like this — so just in case, here’s what you need to know.
What Is the ‘Protect Arkansas Act’?
The Protect Arkansas Act will go into effect on January 1, 2024. This legislative measure spans 132 pages. Among the notable revisions are those pertaining to the bail bond process, which warrant a closer examination to understand the implications for individuals involved in legal proceedings.
Who Does the Act Apply To?
The act focuses on a comprehensive reform aimed at refining the state's criminal justice procedures. While attention has been directed toward “truth-in-sentencing” modifications, the act also introduces substantial changes to the bail bond framework.
“Truth-in-sentencing” refers to a set of legal and policy changes in criminal justice systems aimed at ensuring that individuals convicted of crimes serve a portion of their court-imposed sentences before becoming eligible for parole or early release.
Ultimately, the primary goal is to increase the transparency and accuracy of the criminal justice system by aligning the imposed sentence more closely with the actual time served.
What Will Change?
Previously, individuals seeking bail bonds could arrange partial payments upfront, providing a degree of financial flexibility. The Protect Arkansas Act alters this and mandates the immediate payment of the entire 10% of the bail amount.
Representative Jimmy Gazaway emphasized that their primary objective is to enhance public safety through these legal changes. Arkansas lawmakers plan to closely observe the outcomes of this legislation come January 1, 2024.
How Will This Act Affect Me?
Before, a defendant with a $100,000 bond previously could have set up a payment arrangement for their $10,000 requirement. But now, they’ll have to pay the full amount up front before being released.
The problem? The requirement for the full 10% of the bail amount upfront could pose a financial challenge for defendants and their families. It eliminates the flexibility of arranging payment plans — potentially making it more difficult for some individuals to secure their release. This could result in longer periods of pre-trial detention for some defendants.
There is also concern that the act’s requirements, particularly the immediate collection of the full 10 percent, could contribute to jail overcrowding. If jails may reach capacity faster, it could lead to the early release of individuals.
Contact Hickey & Hull Law Partners
Facing jail time and dealing with bail can be extremely overwhelming — but you don't have to navigate it alone. At Hickey & Hull Law Partners, we understand the challenges associated with paying a hefty 10% bond, which can place significant financial strain on you and your family, potentially leading to deep debt or even bankruptcy.
The good news is that our legal team brings decades of combined experience in criminal law, with a keen understanding of bail regulations. We are here to help you navigate the legal complexities and strive to find the best possible solutions for your situation.
Chat, fill out our online form, or contact us today to get a free consultation. Our River Valley office number is 479.434.2414, and our Northwest Arkansas number is 479.802.6560.