For many people, a DWI arrest results in a night in jail followed by a release in the morning. This is especially true for many first-time offenders. While the police have the power to release many people charged with DWI on their own recognizance following an arrest, there are certain situations where Hennepin County law requires bail.
What Exactly Is Bail in Hennepin County?
The amount of bail required in a case varies depending on the charge. As seasoned DWI Defense lawyers in Hennepin County, we know that for misdemeanors, bail is only mandatory under certain circumstances. For felonies, not only is bail mandatory but there is no maximum amount of bail set under state law.
Dealing with issues of bail is only one way your DWI defense lawyer in Hennepin County could help you. During the course of your DWI case, your attorney could work to get your case dismissed and fight to ensure you are released pending trial. To discuss how an attorney could maximize your chance of a favorable outcome, contact the attorneys at Gerald Miller right away.
Will I Spend Time in Hennepin County Jail for DWI?
Most people do not spend the entire time from arrest to trial in custody. In many cases, the court or even the police have the power to release individuals from jail on their own recognizance with little more than a promise to appear at their court dates.
In other cases, the court can set varying requirements a defendant must meet before they are released from jail. One of those requirements is bail. Bail is an amount of money deposited with the court to secure a person’s release from jail. If that person subsequently attends all court dates and complies with the court’s other orders, they will ultimately have their bail money refunded. Should they miss a court date, however, the bail money is forfeit and the judge could order the defendant returned to jail.
Two Types of Bonds in Hennepin County
In Hennepin County, there are two types of bonds: cash and surety. A cash bond involves the defendant simply handing over enough cash to the court to cover bail. Individuals that lack the funds to pay their full bail amount could turn to surety bonds. A surety bond is paid by a bail bondsman. Typically, the bondsman charges a fee to front the person’s bail. For further explanation of the two, it is best to consult a qualified DWI Defense attorney in Hennepin County.
Article 1, Section 5 of the Minnesota Constitution bans excessive bail. While the state constitution does not expand on what makes bail excessive, courts generally hold excessive bail to mean an amount that is higher than necessary to ensure a defendant will appear for their court dates.
Conditional Versus Unconditional Bail in Hennepin County
Any DWI Defense attorney in Hennepin County will confirm that Minnesota differs from many other states in that the law allows a judge to offer a defendant different options for bail. In some cases, the judge will set two bail amounts: a lower amount for conditional bail and a higher amount for unconditional bail.
Conditional Bail in Hennepin County
Conditional bail, as the name suggests, comes with conditions outside of the payment of the bail amount. Some conditions are simple, like the requirement to make your court appearances or stay in contact with your attorney. Others can be more specific, like random drug and alcohol tests.
Unconditional Bail in Hennepin County
Unconditional bail comes with fewer requirements. The tradeoff is that the amount of unconditional bail is higher. In some cases, the court will set two amounts and let the defendant choose the option they would prefer.
Minimum Bail for Hennepin County DWI Charges
Often, law enforcement will release someone charged with a DWI on their own recognizance once they are no longer intoxicated. That said, Hennepin County law prevents this practice in some DWI cases. Under certain circumstances, a defendant in a DWI case faces mandatory bail.
Minnesota State Statute 169A.44 sets mandatory bail-in DWI cases under several circumstances. These mandatory amounts can serve either as the lower amount of conditional bail or the maximum amount for unconditional bail. The court does not have the discretion to order a defendant’s release should they not meet these mandatory bail requirements.
Factors That Can Trigger Mandatory Bail
A DWI Defense attorney in Hennepin County will explain to you that there are a number of factors that can trigger mandatory bail in a DWI case. These factors include:
- A second degree or higher DWI charge
- A defendant alleged to have a BAC greater than 0.16
- A third or subsequent DWI offense for a driver under the age of 19
- The presence of a child under 16 as well as a prior DWI conviction
- The DWI occurred while the driver’s license was canceled as inimical to public safety
According to state law, bail is generally capped at double the maximum available fine for a particular offense. For example, that limits a misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $1,000 to bail of no more than $2,000.
DWI Exceptions in Hennepin County
Like with most things, there are some exceptions to these rules. One of those exceptions is arrests related to DWI charges. In those cases, bail may be as much as four times the maximum fine in a particular case.
Bail for Felony DWI in Hennepin County
Unlike with misdemeanor cases, there is no set multiplier used to calculate maximum bail for a felony DWI. While there is no set cap on bail for a first degree DWI, that does not mean bail is limitless. When setting bail in a felony case, the court must still comply with the constitutional requirement of access to reasonable bail.
In felony cases, the court is more likely to seek extensive use of conditional bail. Some common conditions used in these cases are mandatory drug or alcohol testing. Judges also routinely order defendants to avoid drugs or alcohol as well as places where these things are readily available.
Revocation of DWI Bail in Hennepin County
The court has the final say when it comes to granting bail in a DWI case. Likewise, it is also up to a judge to determine when bail should be revoked. There are many reasons while bail might be revoked, but three specific circumstances are the primary cause for revocation most of the time. These examples include:
- Fraud. The court treats any form of fraud or misrepresentation harshly. If a judge determines you have misrepresented the circumstances of your arrest or of your financial position, they could immediately revoke your bail. This is common in cases where a person charged with DWI misrepresents the amount of money they have access to. Leaving out important details is just as problematic as actively lying during the course of your bail hearing.
- Malfeasance. The court will also potentially revoke bail for courtroom malfeasance. If you act in bad faith, you can expect the court to reconsider your bail amount. This could include a wide variety of behavior including tampering with evidence or lying to the court. Unethical behavior surrounding the resolution of your case can lead to having your bail revoked.
- Risk to the Community. You can also expect the court to revoke your bail if they determine you are a danger the community. This can occur if you commit other offenses—especially if you are arrested for another DWI or alcohol-related offense. The failure to appear at a court hearing could also lead to the revocation of your bail in a DWI case.
It is important to remember that the amount of your bail is never set in stone. The court has the ability to make changes to your bail requirement based on any of the factors described above. That said, the court must still comply with the law as it relates to bail amounts. If your rights are violated, the attorneys of Gerald Miller could fight to have your bail reduced to comply with state law.
The Timeline for Setting Bail in Hennepin County
Under the law, you must be brought before a judge within 36 hours of an arrest. Any later is considered an “unnecessary delay” and could result in your immediate release. However, it is not quite as simple as just counting 36 hours from the moment you were arrested. There are a number of factors that could push that 36-hour window much longer than you might expect.
For starters, this time limit does not start until the day after your arrest. For example, if you are arrested at 1 a.m. the 36-hour window will not begin to expire until midnight, leaving you with nearly another complete day behind bars.
Not Everyday Counts Towards the 36-Hour Period
In addition, not every day will count toward the 36-hour window. Sundays and legal holidays are not considered when making these calculations. This means that a person arrested on the first morning of a holiday weekend could be in jail for close to a week without going before a judge.
Time to Bring DWI Charges Can Be Extended
While you are guaranteed a bail amount in the days following your arrest, state law does provide the prosecution with the ability to extend the amount of time they have to bring charges under certain circumstances. According to state law, a court could grant the prosecution an extension of up to 48 hours for a bail hearing. This means you could remain in jail awaiting a bail hearing for longer than usual if the court allows.
How Common is Jailtime for a DWI in Hennepin County
The good news is that this is rarely at issue for DWI cases. Most of the time, drivers are released on their own recognizance pending trial. When bail is necessary, it unlikely that the state would seek an extension on a DWI case. This process is typically reserved for serious criminal offenses.
One of the ways the attorneys of Gerald Miller could assist with your DWI case is by guiding you through the bail process step by step. From securing your release to ensuring you comply with your bail terms, our attorneys can help you get out of jail and stay out of jail. By aggressively pursuing a defense strategy that works with the facts of your case, we could also help you avoid jail in the future.
Let a Hennepin County DWI Defense Lawyer Advise You
Making bail is only the first step in getting your life together after a DWI arrest. Even in cases involving serious DWI charges, the right lawyer could help you secure your release from jail and allow you to return to your regular life to some degree.
The DWI Defense attorneys in Hennepin County at Gerald Miller are experienced in arguing for reasonable bail for their clients. If you are ready to discuss the possibility of bail and your defense options in general, schedule a free consultation with Gerald Miller right away on (612) 440-4610.