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Excessive Bail & Your Rights


After someone has been charged with a criminal offense, he or she will generally be taken into custody at a local law enforcement station for booking. Once this process is complete, depending on the nature and severity of the crime and whether or not the person has a criminal history, he or she might be released, or required to stay in jail until his or her court date. For serious charges, a person can still be potentially be released from jail, but must first post bail.

What is Bail?

Bail is a system that allows criminal defendants to deposit money with the court to be released while they wait for court proceedings to begin. If they fail to attend any scheduled appearances, they will face criminal repercussions and face the forfeiture of the money to the court.

To post bail, criminal defendants have a couple of options:

  • Cash bail: A defendant can post bail in cash with the court in order to be released from custody. Cash bail will be returned after the defendant makes all court appearances and the case concludes.
  • Bail bond: In cases where a defendant does not have enough cash to post bail, they can use a bail bond instead. If a defendant does not appear, the bail bond agency will pay the bond. Generally, defendants are charged anywhere from 10% to 15% of the total bond amount by the bail bond agency. They can also use property as collateral if they are unable to pay that amount.

When is Bail Excessive?

The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides protection from excessive bail to ensure that defendants are not being unfairly punished for a crime they have yet to be found guilty of and to prevent the government from profiting unlawfully from it. That said, while everyone should be afforded this protection, many judges still set excessive and unreasonably high bails.

The court is required to consider a variety of factors when setting bail for a defendant, including the ability to pay, the nature of the crime, and if they pose a threat to public safety. Make sure your rights are not being violated and seek the skilled representation of an experienced criminal defense attorney to either seek lower bail or to prevent excessive bail from being set.

Criminal Defense Attorney in Chicago

If you are facing criminal charges in Chicago, now is the time to obtain the skilled legal assistance of a criminal defense attorney to ensure your rights are protected. At the Law Office of Steven Fine, our criminal defense attorney is backed by over 20 years of experience and a proven track record of success. Too much is at stake to risk handling this situation yourself, so do not hesitate to get the help you need.

Get started today and contact our office at (312) 436-0638 to request your free initial case evaluation. Our team is available 24/7 to take your call.