People arrested for nonviolent, low-level offenses in Los Angeles County will not be forced to post bail as a preliminary injunction takes effect Wednesday.

Last week, a Superior Court judge issued the injunction in a class-action lawsuit brought by those who argue the current bail system inherently favors the wealthy.

Six plaintiffs claim they suffered negative consequences because they could not afford bail, including missed work, separation from their families and lapsed medical care.

“Being jailed for even short periods of time may cause them to lose their jobs, their housing, or custody of their children,” the lawsuit contends. “They suffer all the harms of confinement in a jail cell even though a large portion of them will never be formally charged with any crime, let alone convicted.”

In his 64-page decision, L.A. County Superior Court Judge Lawrence Riff explained why he sided with the plaintiffs.

“Enforcing the secured money bail schedules against poor people who are detained in jail solely for the reason of their poverty is a clear, pervasive, and serious constitutional violation,” Riff said. “Pretrial detention of presumptively innocent people based upon their poverty is neither intended nor permitted to operate as a form of punishment, but that is, plaintiffs say, what is actually happening every day.”

The injunction essentially reinstates a policy that was first implemented during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce overcrowding in jails.

It will remain in effect for 60 days to give the county and the city of Los Angeles time to develop what Riff called a “constitutionally sound, effective, concrete” plan to handle those who have been arrested for minor offenses such as shoplifting and vandalism.

The L.A. City Attorney’s office, which is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, was reluctant to defend the current bail schedule during a court hearing on the matter in April, Courthouse News Service reported.

In a statement Wednesday morning, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department acknowledged the change in policy and said it would follow guidelines outlined in 2020’s “Third Los Angeles County Emergency Bail Scheduled Modification.”

Those arrested for most misdemeanor and non-violent felony offenses “would be released on their recognizance or subject to non-monetary conditions,” the Department said.