Excessive Bail Law and Legal Definition

Excessive bail is an amount of bail ordered posted by an accused defendant which is much more than necessary or usual to assure he/she will attend court appearances, particularly in relation to the seriousness of the crime. Each case in judged on an individual basis, taking into account, among other factors, the defendant's assets, ties to the community, and flight risk. If excessive bail is claimed, the defendant can petition the court for reduction of bail. If the motion is denied, he/she can then apply directly to a court of appeal for reduction.

The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution and some state constitutions prohibit excessive bail for criminal cases. However, the Eighth Amendment has been interpreted to mean that bail may be denied where the charges are sufficiently serious. Bail is ''excessive'' in violation of the Eighth Amendment when it is set at a figure higher than an amount reasonably calculated to ensure the asserted governmental interest.