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Excessive bail is forbidden by the Eighth Amendment

We recently discussed some of the points relating to being booking into jail and getting a bail set after you are arrested for drunk driving. For anyone who has been arrested for criminal charges, the subject of bail is one that can often mean the difference between remaining in jail until your case is resolved or being free through the process. Fortunately for some people, the Eighth Amendment forbids the courts from setting bail in amounts that are considered excessive.

The Eighth Amendment doesn't guarantee that you are going to be granted bail. Instead, it only notes that if bail is set, the bail amount can't be so high that it could only be paid by the richest citizens. It is possible for the court to deny bail if there is a risk of flight or if the defendant poses a risk to other members of the community.

The concept of bail is one that is said to uphold the thought that you are innocent until you are proven guilty. The money that is posted for bail is considered an incentive for defendants to appear in court. If bail, not bond, is posted, the money is returned to the defendant when the case is resolved as long as the defendant appeared at all court dates.

By putting up bail, the defendant isn't forced to remain in jail while the case is pending. If a defendant is unable to put up bail, they can contact a bail bondsman to find out if posting a bond, which is a portion of the bail amount, is possible. If the bail is too high, seeking a bail reduction might be possible. That would mean petitioning the court through a legal process.

If you are facing a DUI or DWI charge, sitting in jail probably isn't something you want to do. Building your defense while in jail might be difficult, but it is possible with the help of legal counsel.

Source: National Constitution Center, "Excessive Fines, Cruel and Unusual Punishment," accessed Sep. 10, 2015

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