Bail And Bond In Southern Minnesota
Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Unfortunately, a reality of the legal system is that things take time. No one wants to find themselves sitting in a jail cell waiting for their day in court. In some cases, defendants are simply released until the date of their next hearing.
However, in other circumstances, the court may require a person to post “bail” to secure their release. Essentially, bail is a financial guarantee that a defendant will actually show up to all of their court hearings.
Here, our criminal defense attorneys answer some of the most frequently asked questions about bail and bond in southern Minnesota.
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Contact us as soon as possible. The sooner you call us and get us on the case, the more time we will have to prepare your defense. Even if you are not sure you want to hire us, call us and talk with one of our bail and bond attorneys. We offer a private, no-obligation consultation. Talk to us and see what we can do for you.
Frequently Asked Questions: Your Guide To Bail And Bond In Minnesota
How does bail work in Minnesota?
If you are charged with a crime in Minnesota, the judge will examine the case and decide if bail is required and how much it should be. The goal of bail is not to punish or to keep you in jail but is a fairly complex system to look your past criminal charges, how serious the current charges are if the current charges could result in a prison sentence, etc.
Every citizen is entitled to post bail or a bond in order to be released from jail pending trial. This means that no matter what the crime the judge will set bail.
Similar to other states, Minnesota allows many defendants to post bail in order to secure their release. In some circumstances, bail is set by a state “schedule” and it can be posted without a judge being involved. In other cases, a defendant will go before the court and the judge will determine the amount and conditions of bail.
What is the difference between bail and bond?
Bail is a payment made by the defendant or a friend/family member. The money goes directly to the court. In contrast, bond is money that is put up by a licensed company. Bail bond companies allow defendants to secure a “loan” using collateral — meaning a bond can be posted even if you do not have enough money/assets to make bail. While the ultimate effect is the same, the source of the funds are different.
Can my defense lawyer get my bail reduced?
Yes, it is possible. A judge can consider a number of different factors when setting bail, including prior criminal record, potential danger to the community, and flight risk. An experienced criminal defense attorney can represent you at an initial hearing and present a case arguing for the lowest possible amount of bail.
If I cannot post bail, am I stuck in jail?
You might be. Call a lawyer as soon as possible. You may still be eligible to get your bail reduced. To be clear, if you cannot come up with the full amount to post bail, you may also be able to secure your release by working with a bail bond company.
If I am released on bail, will I be subject to other conditions?
It depends. In setting bail, Minnesota law gives courts a considerable amount of discretion. A judge may order a defendant’s release without any conditions. However, in some cases, a judge will impose conditions beyond simply setting bail. For example, a defendant may be placed under supervision, restricted in their travel, or required to abide by a curfew.
Where does a bondsman come into play?
A defendant always has the option to post the full bail, that is the entire amount the judge requires. This is not always possible or even advisable. For example, on serious drug charges, it is not uncommon to have $50,000 bail. Many people do not have an extra $50,000 available to give the court.
This is where the bail bondsman comes into play. A bonding company has been approved by the Minnesota Court System to post bonds by providing the court with collateral in case the bond is called in. In the above example, normally you would pay 10% of the bail plus a small handling fee (usually a hundred dollars or so). This is money you do not get back. Instead, it goes to the bonding company as payment for the risk they must take if you don’t appear or violate terms of release.
How do I find a good bail bondsman?
This is a good question. A few years ago in Blue Earth County, a local bail bondsman was convicted of federal gun charges and accused of trading bail services for sexual favors. This is, perhaps, not the person you would prefer to deal with.
Fortunately, the attorneys at Kohlmeyer Hagen, Law Office Chtd., have spent some time investigating bail bondsmen who we feel are honest, upright, and if we needed to post bail ourselves, we would call.
Rick Miller at Midwest Bonding has been treating our clients the way we would like to be treated for years now, and we wholeheartedly recommend him. He can be reached at his website here.
What do conditional release and unconditional release mean?
Most criminal court judges in Minnesota will set two different amounts of money. One is the amount for conditional release, this will often have requirements such as:
- No alcohol use
- No drug use and subject to random testing
- No contact with the alleged victim
- Remain law-abiding
This amount will nearly always be lower than unconditional bail, which, like its name implies, has no conditions. While there is no strict rule, often times the amounts are double. For example, if the judge orders $5,000 conditional bail on a felony drug case it often (but not always) will be $10,000 for unconditional bail.