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Here are the crimes that would require cash bail under pending new Georgia law

By Joe Johnson

Current Georgia law mandates bail for only 14 crimes, mainly violent offenses like murder and rape.

However, under Senate Bill 63 such nonviolent crimes as unlawful assembly, failing to appear in court for a traffic violation, and possession of marijuana would be added to the list.

The pending legislation comes as a sharp rebuke to more than two decades of criminal justice reform in Georgia, including a 2018 law championed by then-governor Nathan Deal that sought to make the legal system more equitable for those accused of nonviolent misdemeanors.

Proponents of the bill, which was first introduced in 2023, say that the measure is necessary to deter crime in the state. However, the bill was voted down last session, and underwent several revisions before reaching the version that passed in the Senate. The most recent version of the bill notably excludes a provision that would have made domestic terrorism a "serious violent felony" in Georgia.

Opponents argued that even in its revised form, mandating cash bail will negatively impact low-income residents, those with mental health issues and communities of color, all of whom often face disproportionate barriers in the justice system. 

If passed, the bill would have striking implications, not only for those in the criminal justice system, but for those who seek to help them. Friends and family members, religious groups and nonprofit bail funds alike would all be severely restricted by the cash bond cap, which limits them to posting bail just three times each year. Bail bond agents, who use a slightly more complex process known as surety bonds, would not face a cap on the number of bonds they can post.

The bill will now be transferred to the House for a vote. If it passes, Gov. Brian Kemp is expected to sign it into law. 

Crimes that would require bail under SB63

  • Murder or felony murder

  • Armed robbery

  • Kidnapping

  • Rape

  • Aggravated child molestation

  • Aggravated sodomy

  • Aggravated sexual battery

  • Aggravated assault

  • Aggravated battery

  • Hijacking a motor vehicle in the first degree

  • Aggravated stalking

  • Child molestation

  • Enticing a child for indecent purposes

  • Pimping

  • Robbery

  • Burglary

  • Bail jumping

  • Escape

  • Possession of a firearm or knife during the commission of or attempt to commit certain crimes

  • Possession of firearms by convicted felons and first offender probationers

  • Trafficking in cocaine, illegal drugs, marijuana, or methamphetamine

  • Participating in criminal gang activity

  • Habitual violator

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicating substances

  • Entering an automobile or other mobile vehicle with intent to commit theft or felony

  • Stalking

  • Crimes involving family violence

  • Reckless stunt driving, provided that such offense is the person's second or subsequent offense

  • Promoting or organizing an exhibition of drag races or laying drags

  • Laying drags

  • Reckless driving, provided that such offense is the person's second or subsequent offense

  • Fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer

  • Obstruction of a law enforcement officer

  • Criminal trespass, provided that such offense is the person's second or subsequent offense

  • Theft by taking, provided that such offense is the person's second or subsequent offense

  • Theft by deception

  • Theft by extortion

  • Destruction, removal, concealment, encumbrance, or transfer of property subject to security interest

  • Bribery

  • Purchase, possession, manufacture, distribution, or sale of controlled substances or marijuana

  • Forgery

  • Exploitation and intimidation of disabled adults, elder persons, and residents or obstruction of an investigation

  • Battery

  • Voluntary manslaughter

  • Cruelty to animals

  • Violation of oath by a public officer

  • Financial transaction card fraud

  • Financial transaction card theft

  • Identity fraud

  • Racketeering and conspiracy

  • Trafficking of persons for labor or sexual servitude

  • Failure to appear, provided that such offense is the person's second or subsequent offense

  • Domestic terrorism

  • Riot

  • Inciting to riot

  • Unlawful assembly

  • Possession of tools for commission of a crime


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4 Comments


Possession of marijuana? Seriously?

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I think criminals need to be punished. I don’t care if a crime is “non-violent”. I don’t want them around. Getting robbed or burglarized is a personal infraction. If they aren’t shot dead when they break in a stint in jail with trouble raising bail is just fine with me.

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"disproportionate barriers" . How about disproportionate criminal participation?

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Replying to

It’s unlawful and atrocious to keep non-violent offenders in jail pre-trial because they are poor. Please don’t tell me you’re a racist too?

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