COVID-19 Arrests and Bail Bonds: What Everyone Needs to Know

COVID-19 Arrests and Bail Bonds: What Everyone Needs to Know

COVID-19 Arrests and Bail Bonds: What Everyone Needs to Know

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the way that many things are performed has greatly changed. With the need to limit human interaction and practice social distancing, many police forces and courts have initiated new pandemic procedures to help stop the spread of the virus. These new procedures affect both how a person is arrested and how their bail bond process is executed.

A Higher Risk Of Infection In Prisons

When it comes to mitigating your risk of contracting COVID-19, social distancing is one of the most effective measures. However, this is near impossible in most prison settings. There are simply too many prisoners combined in various prisons to allow for this mandated safe distance. Also, those in prisons are less likely to seek out medical assistance when they're feeling ill.

Apart from these social practices, prisoners don't have access to normal hygienic products. Items like soap and hand sanitizer are not freely available to prisoners, which can make killing the virus even more difficult. Understanding these various problems helps one to understand the heightened risk that being in prison during the coronavirus pandemic posses for the average citizen.

How Has COVID-19 Affected Arrests?

The number of arrests has dropped significantly across the country as this new pandemic has swept the nation. Public officials are worried about both the safety of offenders and of the officers who are arresting them. The goal of police departments across the great state of Ohio is to maintain a level of public order while keeping everyone safe from harm and the virus. This has lead to many notable changes in the justice system.

Officers are now equipped with personal protective equipment to handle cases. Many calls are being handled virtually instead of in person. When officers do arrive, many are issuing citations for what would have been the usual cause for jail time in the past. Others are not issuing misdemeanors, in general, to limit the number of people incarcerated. In many cases, only those who commit violent crimes are being arrested to help limit the number of prisoners police departments are handling during the pandemic.

How Has Bail Bonds Changed Due To The Pandemic?

As you've found out above, the number of people in need of bail bonds has significantly decreased over the last few months due to fewer people being arrested. Those who are arrested are finding that judges are setting very low bail amounts or giving them zero bail amounts. This is to encourage that people stay at home after an arrest inside of being stuck in a prison cell where risks of COVID-19 spread are higher.

Recently, the Ohio Supreme Court has issued guidelines for all courts throughout the state to follow. Some of the most notable changes regarding bail bonds include:

  • Issuing recognizance bonds to all unless there is clear evidence that shows substantial harm would ensue.

  • Reschedule court hearings instead of issuing capias warrants.

  • Impose noncustodial sentences unless clear evidence shows substantial harm could ensue.

Major Changes In The Ohio Court System

Initially, the Ohio Court System suspended pre-trial and motion hearings until more strict guidelines could be put into place to assist with safety. Two major changes have developed as part of this safety program during the coronavirus pandemic. First, they have made great strides to limit face-to-face contact for court hearings. This means that most are scheduled virtually.

Second, they have evaluated the number of prisoners in jails currently and are releasing prisoners before their intended release date. This is done on a case-by-case basis. The concept behind this decision is that it will help to decrease the number of people in prison and, therefore, assist in the overall reduction of virus risks for those who remain in prison.

The novel coronavirus has sparked drastic changes in the justice system of Ohio. The arrest process, setting bail, and even imprisonment have all changed in response to the health and safety concerns of the public and justice workers. As time continues to progress, there are likely more and more changes that will take place. Staying on top of these changes can help you and your loved ones understand what will happen during arrests and court hearings in Ohio.

If you or someone you love is in need of sound legal advice, do not hesitate to contact us today through our website or give us a call at (614) 945-4334!

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