In Minnesota, bail is usually only required in the case of serious crimes, such as felonies or certain types of gross misdemeanors. The amount of bail is set at the discretion of the judge, who will take into account the charges along with the defendant’s prior criminal history. If a defendant has a history of no-showing their court appearances, that can play a significant role in the bail requirement as well.
Once the bail amount is set, there are two basic ways for it to be paid. A friend, family member or some other representative of the defendant can pay the full bail amount. If that isn’t an option (and it usually is not), then a bail bondsman is called in. A bail bondsman will generally charge you right around 10% of the bail amount for their services. You don’t get to recover this amount later, but you also don’t have to come up with the full bail amount to be released immediately. For example, posting a full $10,000 bail is unrealistic for most people, but they can usually manage to put together the $1,000 they need for a bail bondsman to post bond on their behalf.
As you can see, even with a bail bondsman helping you out, the process of bail is still very expensive. Fortunately there’s a better option available.
How A Minnesota Attorney Can Help With Bail Issues
A good attorney can potentially reduce your bail, or even eliminate the need for bail. At the very least, an attorney will expedite the process of getting you bailed out, in some circumstances preventing you from having to go to jail at all.
What an attorney can do for you will vary according to the circumstances of your case, but all of the following are possibilities:
- Making bail arrangements ahead of time so that you don’t have to go to jail (in cases where you have a warrant out and engage the services of an attorney prior to being arrested)
- Eliminating the need for bail (quashing a warrant) in the case of less serious crimes
- Lowering the bail amount with the court, particularly if you have limited means
- Negotiating a “cash bail” arrangement with the court, in which you put up a similar 10% of the total bail amount to be released, but the court does not keep it (unless you later forfeit it in some way)
What If I Absolutely Can’t Pay My Bail?
As mentioned, an attorney has some ability to convince the court to reduce or even eliminate bail. The less serious the crime is, the less of a criminal history you have, and the less means you have, the more likely this argument is to be successful.
When all else fails, the state of Minnesota does have laws on the books guaranteeing you a speedy trial. If the trial cannot be held within 10 days of your initial incarceration, the state is required to release you on probation until it is. There are some circumstances where prosecutors can request an extension of up to two further days, however, if they can show a need to investigate new information.
In some circumstances, it may actually be more beneficial to tough it out for a few days in jail if your means are really tight. When you have a hearing, this gives your attorney the best possible opportunity to argue on your behalf for reducing or eliminating your bail.
Get An Experienced Minnesota Attorney On Your Side
Christian Peterson is a former prosecutor who fully understands and has long experience with the inner workings of the system. The Christian Petersen Law Office will put those long years of experience to work for you in defending you from a wide range of criminal charges. We can help you out with your bail situation no matter how dire it might seem; contact us for a free case evaluation.