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Avoiding the Weight of Excessive Bail

Ball and Chain With No Prisoner Trapped By Excessive Bail

The reason that U.S. jails, including in Jefferson County, Arapahoe County, and Denver County, are overcrowded is well-documented and controversial. Some point to a lack of new facilities, surges in crime, bureaucratic red tape, unfair criminal penalties, the burden of excessive bail on the poor, and so forth. All of this has led to wholesale revisions in America’s cash bail system, causing rifts between those who support eliminating it completely, and those who support more nuanced evolution of existing laws.

The Eighth Amendment

As longtime professionals in the bail bonding industry, one of the most important ways that we can help existing and potential clients is to educate them on police matters and the judicial system overall. We can never replace the sound advice you will receive from experienced lawyers, but we know just enough to be "dangerous" and help you avoid further trouble whenever possible.

First and foremost, our standard disclaimer is this: don’t run afoul of the law to begin with and work your hardest to avoid becoming a repeat offender. Yes, that sounds like the wrong advice given the kind of business we’re in but trust us – there are more than enough defendants out there who wouldn’t subscribe to common sense if they were clobbered with it over the head.

Something that we try and educate all clients about are their rights under the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, so pay attention. According to Cornell Law: “The Eighth Amendment, in part, provides constitutional protection against excessive bail, including the practical denial of bail by fixing its amount unreasonably high, as decided in United States v. Motlow, 10 F.2d 657 (1926). Although the Eighth Amendment protects against excessive bail, there is not an absolute right to bail, as noted in The Bail Reform Act, 18 USC Chapter 207 (1984).”

If you think your bail is excessive, file an appeal with the court to lower it.

Convince the Judge to Lower Your Bail

It’s not unusual for defendants to think they’re getting a raw deal when it comes to bail, especially the poor or anyone else without quick access to get-out-of-jail money. And that’s understandable in some cases.

If you’re sitting on the wrong side of the law, staring down a bail bonds amount that hits you like a punch to the gut, you can file an appeal to have the bail amount lowered. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

When considering a bail appeal, criteria like the defendant’s money situation, family connections, length of time living in the area, and criminal history can all be considered. Sometimes, a bail bond amount is at such a level that a defendant can’t afford it, making a bail appeal an attractive option. In some cases, bail isn’t even on the table.

Rules for challenging bail decisions and the exact amount differ from state to state and between state and federal courts. However, defendants are normally entitled to some manner of bail review. It’s important to understand the scope of an appeal can be limited due to the fact the appellate court is only concerned with knowing if the trial court showed an exploitation of its discretion. This means there’s an expectation the appellate court will uphold the first bail ruling unless it’s obvious that its actions were unreasonable, erroneous, or arbitrary. If the appellate court determines the bail is supported by facts and law, then the bail amount won’t.

But you can appeal once a final bail decision has been made; again, the how’s and why’s vary between states and the federal government. Talk to a lower. Typically, most appeals have strict time limits, so you’ll want to start the process quickly after your bail hearing. Once you file a notice of appeal, the court’s alerted that you intend to bring an appeal, but you can later change your mind if you decide to withdraw the appeal.

What About the Fifth Amendment?

The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is a good one to learn about, whether you’re a cash bail bondsman, a defendant, or an average citizen who stays on the good side of the law.

“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

Many people are aware of this when they hear references to their “Miranda Rights,” which is especially important in the area of criminal law and something we talk to our clients about often. This pertains to the amendment’s protection against self-incrimination and got the name from a 1966 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, stemming from the arrest of Ernesto Miranda and a two-hour-long police interrogation without the presence of a lawyer – after which he confessed to a crime. Miranda wasn't informed of his Fifth Amendment rights, and the Supreme Court threw out his conviction.

The point in all this is to know your rights and exercise them whenever possible if you run afoul of the law. Better yet, just do your best to stay out of trouble. By doing so, you won’t need help from someone in the bail bonds industry and can go about your life peacefully.

Even the best efforts to avoid legal trouble sometimes fall short. If you find yourself behind bars without enough cash for bail, contact Tayler Made Bail Bonding for around-the-clock assistance.

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Tayler Made Bail Bonding is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

(303) 623-0399
3595 South Teller Street
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Lakewood, CO 80235