“Bail” is a term that refers to a specific amount of money that is pledged or deposited to a court as one of the conditions of releasing a suspect from jail, on the general understanding that he or she will return for trial. A judge determines this amount based on certain facts in a given case.
In some instances, the suspect may be released on his or her own recognizance, which means that to be released, he or she must only remain law abiding and remain in contact with his or her attorney until the next court appearance. In Minnesota, however, most criminal cases involve conditions of release and bail.
Minnesota law states that a judge who sets a bail amount as a condition of release must set two different amounts: one based on the suspect keeping other conditions of release (such as wearing a sensor on his ankle), and an unconditional amount based on the suspect’s not having to maintain any other conditions while released pending his or her next appearance in court.
Statutes Governing Minnesota Mandatory Bail
According to Minnesota Statute Section 169A.44, mandatory bail, whether as conditions of release and a lesser amount of bail, or as the maximum amount of bail with no conditions, must be imposed for a person to be released pending the next court appearance if any of these following factors apply to his or her DUI/DWI offense:
- The DUI/DWI is a second degree level DWI
- He or she had a BAC of or greater than .16
- The DWI offense is a third degree and the driver is under 19 years of age
- A child under the age of 16 was present in the vehicle with a prior DUI within 10 years
- The DUI occurred while his or her license was cancelled as IPS or as inimical to public safety
In Minnesota Statute Section 629.471, outlined is the maximum amount of bail a court may impose for any given charged crime in the state. This statute states that, with a few exceptions, the maximum amount of bail to be set for individuals charged with either a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor is double the highest cash fine that may be imposed for that particular offense. This means that if a misdemeanor carries a maximum fine of $1,000, then the maximum amount of bail that may be set for that offense is $2,000.
Of course, there are a number of exceptions. The maximum amount of bail to be set may be four times the maximum cash fine for specific misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors, particularly for hit and run accidents, DUI/DWI charges, driving after cancellation of license or IPS, and transporting stolen goods into the state. The maximum amount of bail to be set may be up to six times the applicable fine for charges of assault, domestic abuse, domestic assault, and malicious punishment of a child.
Minnesota Statute Section 629.471 does not apply to felony DUI/DWI charges. The maximum cash fine for a first degree DWI or a felony DUI charge is $14,000, but there is no specifically set maximum bail amount. The amount of bail that would be set, if there are no conditions of release accompanying an individual’s release pending his or her next court appearance, would have to meet the constitutional standard of reasonableness.
Conditional and Unconditional Bail Amounts and Degree of DUI Charge
Whenever the imposed bail amount is less than the maximum amount allowed, conditions of release will apply.
If a DUI case involves certain circumstances, then an individual’s release conditions will almost always include that he or she agree to abstain from alcohol, and that he or she must submit to REAM or remote electronic alcohol monitoring, which involves breath-alcohol measurements on a daily basis. Such DUI circumstances are:
- A third implied consent violation in ten years
- A second implied consent violation, if below 19 years of age
- A violation while license was cancelled as IPS or as inimical to public safety
- A violation and a BAC of over .20
If an individual is charged with four or more DWIs in a period of ten years, then he or she may also face additional charges, including:
- Impoundment of the vehicle’s registration plates
- Impoundment of the motorboat of off-road recreational vehicle, if being driven
- Mandatory reporting to a probation officer, at least once a week
- Submitting to a random breath alcohol testing and/or urinalysis
- Mandatory reimbursement to court for these services upon conviction for the crime
To summarize the abovementioned points, you will be subject to mandatory bail if you are charged with a first or second degree DUI or DWI. You and your criminal defense lawyer must decide on the a combination of release conditions and bail amount that is in your best interests, based on your individual case’s facts and your current circumstances in life. Keep in mind that while it seems that maximum bail may be the most expensive option, this is not always the case.
Why it’s important to consult a DWI Lawyer in Minneapolis, MN
When it comes to the most effective arguments that may be asserted against mandatory bail, courts will rarely deviate from imposing such once triggered by the charged offense.
Of course, an experienced Minnesota DWI defense attorney may be able to argue at the bail hearing for conditional bail, unconditional bail, or reduced bail, depending on the form of bail in the defendant’s best interests. An effective attorney may also be able to negotiate for other elements to make the mandatory bail a combination of less restrictive conditions.
It is important to consult with a Minnesota criminal lawyer as soon as possible in order to protect your rights and to ensure that if there are any applicable bail arguments that could help you out, that these are made at the appropriate time. If you would like to review your case with our team of experienced lawyers, please contact us for a free consultation.