Sweeping criminal justice reform goes into effect in three months, and some local district attorneys are sharing concerns on social media.

Starting in January, judges across New York will have less discretion when a defendant first appears. There's no more cash bail for most misdemeanor and nonviolent felony arrests. The list includes criminally negligent homicide and unlawful imprisonment.
If you're accused of one of those crimes you'll be issued an appearance ticket. The expectation is you'll go back to court for your next court date instead of possibly sitting and waiting in jail.

"We shouldn't be locking people up just because they can’t afford to pay the bail when they are legally presumed innocent by the US constitution," said Emily Singletary, the co-founder and co-executive director of Unchained.

Bail was intended as collateral to make sure people showed up at their court dates. Advocates say it disproportionately penalizes minorities and poor people.

"The attorneys and the judges who are making these bail arguments, they could afford $2500 bail,” said Singletary. “It doesn't occur to them that, you know, a lot of the people that they're dealing with in court, nobody in their entire social network could come up with that."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the changes mean 90 percent of people arrested and charged, but not yet convicted of a crime, will stay out of jail.

Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick says this could jeopardize public safety. Judges will not be able to consider a defendant's history.

“The person who is going to be assaulted or killed by someone out on bail who any under normal, sane set of regulations would've been held pending trial,” said Fitzpatrick. “That's my biggest fear."

The new laws don't eliminate bail all together. For cases where bail is acceptable, the new law requires multiple forms of bail to be set. That means the court could include credit cards or allow your family to help pay.

The changes will not be retroactive.

The criminal justice reforms also touch on enforcing trial deadlines and sharing evidence.