Excessive bail is self-explanatory in that it refers to a defendant or accused party of posting bail in excess of what is required in order to assure the individual’s presence in future court trials with regards to his or her case. In these terms, an excessive bail acts as a guarantee provided by the defendant.
The provision of excessive bail can be found in the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of the Unites States of America, and the US Supreme Court considers it a fundamental right. Posting bail is based on the government’s commensurate conditions in releasing an accused party with some form of penalty. A bail is initially set high enough to ensure the attendance of the accused party at the trial, but low enough that the defendant has the means to pay for it. By posting excessive bail, the defendant is reassuring the court that he or she will appear at any court trials involving his or her crime. This is usually done in court cases involving minor crimes or misdemeanors.
If a defendant has posted excessive bail, the accused party has the right to seek a reduction of bail in court. The defendant may make the motion for reduction of bail himself or herself, or may make the motion through his or her attorney. If the defendant is not granted a reduction of bail, the accused can apply for the motion directly to a court of appeals.
The posting of excessive bail can also be grounds for infringement of the defendant’s civil rights, depending on the amount set, the ability of the accused to pay, and other precedents.