Excessive Bail

Bail is a pledge of money given by an accused person as security that he or she will appear in court for trial when requested; it is returned to the defendant if he or she appears at trial. Excessive bail refers to an amount well above what would be necessary to assure the defendant’s appearance in court or a sum that only the wealthiest defendants could afford.

The Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits excessive bail but also does not require the court to set bail. The Supreme Court has ruled that a court may refuse bail if a defendant poses a danger to his or her community or is a significant flight risk.

www.justicelearning.org, The United States Constitution, what it says, what it means, A Hip Pocket Guide (Oxford University Press)