The Constitutional Right to Bail

Bail is an agreement that the court will authorize a person’s release provided that the person promises to follow any conditions listed by the court. If a person fails to satisfy any of the terms of a bond, he or she will be returned to jail to await trial.

The Power of the Eighth Amendment

The Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, prohibits the government from imposing excessive bail on individuals.

There are also certain types of crimes for which the safety of the public dictates, that no bail can be set or that bail be established at a high enough amount that it will be impossible for the person convicted of the crime to pay for it. These offenses include instances in which there a high flight risk, multiple murders, murders so gruesome that the public conscience is shocked, and serial sexual assaults.

Bail Reform Act of 1984

In 1984, Congress passed the Bail Reform Act of 1984. This law allows pre-trial detention of individuals if that person is a danger to the community. This includes a narrow group of individuals including those who have committed crimes of violence, repeat felony offenders, and other people who pose a significant danger to the community. In 2006, the Adam Walsh Amendments to the Bail Reform Act of 1984 were passed, which state that any person accused of a crime involving a minor must be confined, placed under curfew, and must frequently report to law enforcement. Many of the regulations and terms of Bail Reform Act of 1984 still influence how bonds are treated in the United States.

Calculating Bail Amounts

Courts rely on a variety of factors when determining how to set a bond amount. These amounts include the defendant’s employment status, the defendant’s family ties and relationships, the defendant’s mental condition, the defendant’s previous criminal record, the extent of punishment, the length of the person’s residence in the community, the likelihood of conviction, the seriousness of the crime involved, and any other factors indicative of the defendant’s quality of life.

The Types of Bonds

There are several types of bonds that might be involved in a person’s claims. These bonds include the following:

  • Cash bails mean that an individual must give the court an established amount of cash for the bail. The cash will remain in the court’s possession until the defendant appears at all court cases and the case is concluded.
  • Surety bonds involve contractual undertakings by an admitted insurance company that has adequate assets to satisfy the face value of the bond.
  • Property bonds involve the court recording a lien on property to secure the amount of bail that is set by the court.
  • Release on Personal Recognizance. A county or law enforcement administered pre-trial release program requires interviewing defendants in custody and making recommendations about the release of these individuals.
  • Release on Citations involve an arresting officer issuing citations that a person must appear in court at an appointed date.

Obtain the Assistance of Strong Criminal Defense Representation

If you have questions about any of your constitutional rights in connection to a case, you need the assistance of a skilled criminal defense attorney. At Shein and Brandenburg, our attorneys have helped individuals faced with a variety of constitutional issues.