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Excessive Bail & Your Legal Rights


The Founding Fathers of our country were committed to individual freedom until proven guilty. In fact, they were so dedicated to this concept that they included provisions in our Constitution which presume an accused individual to be innocent until proven guilty, and by that same token for them to secure their own release from custody until the time comes for them to answer for their charges in court. This is secured with a financial bond, known as “bail.” Furthermore, you’re also guaranteed the right to a “reasonable” required amount for bail in order to prevent you from being financially incapable of utilizing it.

However, what happens if your judge sets your bail amount way too high, preventing you or your loved ones from being able to post it and secure your release? This is a forbidden practice, and you can petition to have the amount reduced. Let’s take a closer look at “reasonable” bail amounts and exceptions that may waive this right.

How is Bail Determined?

Knowing what defines a “reasonable” bail amount starts with knowing what bail actually is. In short, bail is financial collateral posted to the court along with a promise that you will agree to abide by the court’s terms of your release and then re-appear in court on the day your trial is set to begin. Generally, this bail must be set at an amount that is appropriate for the crime you stand accused of, the danger you pose to society should you be released, and the risk you pose of violating the terms of your bail, including fleeing your charges. If you violate these terms, your bail is forfeit. So long as you adhere to them, you bail will be returned to you.

The right to bail is granted to all who stand accused of a crime, however there are some exceptions which could lead to your right to bail being revoked or your right to a “reasonable” amount being waived. For example, crimes that shock the public conscience or are particularly heinous, such as gruesome murders, multiple murders, sexual assaults, rapes, or other particularly violent acts could be denied the right to reasonable bail or be denied bail completely. The court also does have the authority to reject bail if they believe you pose a significant “flight risk,” or skipping out on facing your charges.

Furthermore, if you are released on bail and then violate the terms of your release, you will be arrested, brought back to custody, and be forbidden from being released on bail again in the future. Your first bail bond will be forfeited.

If you believe your bail has been set excessively high, or if you have been unjustly denied this right, speak with a Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer today! Call the Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella at (414) 882-8382 to request your initial consultation.
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