Conditional Bail vs. Unconditional Bail in MN

By July 28, 2015Bail

After an arrest occurs the arrestee is thrown through the maze of the Minnesota penal system. This can prove quite difficult to navigate on your own, particularly since most people do not investigate the process before getting arrested.

After being read your Miranda warnings you aren’t usually given much further instruction. Unfortunately the warnings cover the most basic constitutional protections that you are entitled to. This means that the minutiae of detailed legal protections afforded to you by the State of Minnesota along with any direction on how to proceed can remain quite the mystery.

The following includes some basic facts about bail in Minnesota to help you through the process.

Where do I start?

Arrests, hearings, trials, and verdicts all happen much further apart than many people imagine. Hearings are often postponed and court dockets can be over-scheduled. This means that a defendant is generally subject to a much longer process than they want or expect. Fortunately, a defendant cannot be held in custody throughout this full process. Despite physical custody of a defendant violating the Constitution, the court still needs to ensure that a defendant does not simply run away. This is why the court implements a tool known as “bail.”

The Bail Process

According to the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure, anyone charged with an offense is released without bail until their first court appearance. After the first court appearance a judge will assign “conditions of release.” These conditions remain in effect until the next court appearance to ensure that the defendant returns. Generally, a defendant is released without conditions; the only restraint is that they must obey the law. However, should the court determine that extra motivation is necessary, they can impose the least strict of the following that is needed to ensure the defendant’s compliance:

  • Place the person in the care and supervision of a designated person or organization agreeing to supervise them;
  • Place restrictions on the travel, association or place of abode during the period of release;
  • Require that the defendant execute an appearance bond in an amount set by the court with sufficient solvent sureties, or the deposit of cash or other sufficient security; or
  • Impose any other condition deemed reasonably necessary to assure appearance as required, including a condition requiring the person return to custody after specified hours.

Conditional Bail

If a judge assigns a dollar amount be held by the court to assure the defendant’s return, option 3, it can be conditional or unconditional. Conditional bail is generally a lesser amount because there are strings attached. The only “condition” assigned to unconditional bail is that the defendant must return for their next court appearance.

Keep in mind that once bail is posted the court is not required to return it to the defendant if restitution is at issue. If there is no restitution issue a defendant can have their money returned after their next court visit. Remember that Minnesota’s Constitution ensures that all persons have a right to post bail to secure their release unless there is sufficient proof that they have committed a capital offense.

If you or someone you love is attempting to navigate the bail maze alone, you may be headed for disaster. Contact the experts at Kohlmeyer Hagen Law Offices today and let us fight for you.