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New Cash Bail Law Protects Low-Level Offenders in Colorado

Gov. Jared Polis’ signed a bill Thursday preventing people accused of many low-level offenses — such as petty, traffic or most municipal charges — from being jailed because they can’t pay their cash bail.

By Jesse Paul

Gov. Jared Polis’ signed a bill Thursday preventing people accused of many low-level offenses — such as petty, traffic or most municipal charges — from being jailed because they can’t pay their cash bail.

That also means people currently locked up in Colorado on those types of charges, who are unable to pay their bail, must be released. At least one county believes there are several people being held in their facility who might be eligible.

“If you are thinking about putting someone in jail right now for a low-level offense and putting  cash bail on them for $100 or $200 or $300, you can’t do it anymore,” said state Rep. Leslie Herod, a Denver Democrat.

Some of those minor offenses could include: having an open container, trespassing and/or shoplifting less than $50 worth of goods. There are exceptions carved out for people accused of a traffic offense involving death or injury, operating a vehicle after circumventing a device meant to check a driver’s blood-alcohol level, or eluding a police officer.

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