End Presumptions Against Bail

Right now, in Virginia, being charged with certain offenses means that you lose the presumption of innocence—before a trial even begins. When certain offenses, called ‘presumption offenses,’ are charged, Virginia flips the presumption of innocence on its head by requiring an individual to prove why they are not a danger to the community or a risk of flight in order to avoid being incarcerated before trial.

Presumption offenses are not based on evidence and can lead to devastating outcomes for defendants and their families. Even just a few days of incarceration can cause individuals to lose their jobs, housing, custody of their children, critical income for their families, effective medical care, and more. Further, pretrial detention leads to worse trial outcomes and increases the likelihood of wrongful convictions, as people detained pretrial are more likely to plead guilty, regardless of actual guilt or innocence.

SB 1266 would eliminate the provisions in the Virginia Code that establish a presumption against bail for certain offenses.

A fair and just system must be committed to the consideration of individual circumstances in every case, no matter the accusation. Please urge your elected officials to pass this critical piece of legislation.

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House Criminal Courts Subcommittee to support SB1266

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