Tennessee Criminal Defense

Excessive Bail & Your Rights: What You Should Know

If you have been arrested on suspicion of criminal activity, it is likely that the court will assign your bail based on the reason for your arrest. Typically, bail hearings occur shortly after your arrest, and your bail amount is determined. When your bail is posted, you are free to leave jail until your scheduled court date. Many individuals and their families rely on bail bond companies to help them pay bail since it can be difficult to pay the cost of the bail. While bail amounts should be significant to discourage the arrested person from skipping their court date, they also should not be so excessive as to be impossible to pay.


You have a constitutional right to protection from excessive bail. The Eighth Amendment includes the Excessive Bail Clause, which reads:

“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

The purpose of this clause is to prevent wrongful pretrial detention. If the prosecution is hoping to prevent the release of the defendant before their trial, they may petition for an impossibly high bail to be set, which would effectively prevent the defendant from posting bail. While bails can be very high for those accused of serious crimes, they should never be used as a way to keep the defendant in detention.


It is illegal to set excessive bail, the court does have the option of simply refusing to set bail. In order to justify the action, however, the court must demonstrate compelling governmental interest for keeping the defendant detained until their trial. If the court is refusing to set bail for you, speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney about your options.


The bail amount isn’t static, and it is possible that it may be changed. You have a right to petition the court for a lower bail amount, while the defense may seek a higher bail amount for your release. At the bail hearing, both the defense and the prosecution can make their case for a change in the bail amount.


If you have been arrested, you need a hard-hitting defense to protect your rights. At Joshua T. Crain, Attorneys at Law, we are backed by decades of collective legal experience in a wide array of criminal defense issues. Our Murfreesboro criminal defense attorneys know what you are going through, and we will treat you with the respect and compassion you deserve while we build an aggressive and strategic defense.

Don’t wait to get help. Contact our firm online or call (615) 200-9409 to schedule a free initial consultation.