Limits on Bail

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Limits on Bail

After being arrested, the judge may allow the suspect to be released in exchange for bail. The judge only sets bail with a mutual understanding that the suspect will return to court on the date of the trial. Nevertheless, a judge cannot freely set bail at any amount that he wants. Certain factors guide the judge's decision.

How Is Bail Set?

A judge will determine whether bail is appropriate based upon the following:

If the judge determines that bail is not appropriate, then the suspect will remain locked up until the trial date. A judge will be unlikely to set bail if the suspect has a warrant out for his arrest, even if its in another jurisdiction.

Are There Limits to How High Bail Is?

Pursuant to the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution, bail cannot be excessive. In other words, bail cannot be a way to raise money for the state or used to punish the suspect. Further, bail cannot be denied such that the police are using that time to gather more evidence against the suspect.

Although there is no statutory limit, judges will set bail higher if the suspect is a flight risk. Otherwise, judges are wary of setting bail too high as they may lose their seat on the bench if they do so continuously.

Lastly, the Eight Amendment is applied more strictly for foreign nationals due to terrorism scares. Hence, bail may be higher and more difficult to obtain. In those cases, a specialized criminal lawyer is needed to help release the suspect.

Consulting an Attorney

If you believe you are entitled to bail or that bail is set too high, please contact a bail bond lawyer. Moreover, a criminal lawyer can help advocate for your interest, and as a result, reduce the charges against you.

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Last Modified: 12-04-2014 02:24 PM PST

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