Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Son/Daughter is in Jail (Explained)

Whenever I receive a call from a parent with a son or daughter that is currently being held in jail, I tell them that the criminal case is divided into two halves: Getting your him/her out of jail, and everything else.

When a peace officer witnesses a criminal offense (Minnesota DWI, drug charges, etc.), they will usually arrest the accused immediately. Sometimes, that individual  will be taken to the police station for additional questioning or breath testing, before ending up in county jail.

At the jail the defendant is usually “booked,” which consists of fingerprinting and being placed in an orange jumpsuit. He or she may also have a bond set by the arresting officer. Sometimes, he or she is told that they will have to wait to see the judge in the morning.  Here is where an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney can help.   

If some one is taken into custody on the weekend, a lawyer can hep secure his/her release by assisting with the bail/bond process. Especially as it concerns getting a judge to set a bail (over the weekend) so one not need wait until Monday to get in front of a judge --- causing them to miss school, work, etc. 

If someone is held until then, the judge will inform the him/her of the pending criminal charge(s) and the minimum and maximum penalties. If the only charges are simple misdemeanors, the judge can ask for a plea. If there are more serious charges, the judge cannot ask for a plea and will address conditions of release.

Conditions of Release - Will There Be Bail?

The judge will review the information he has available and decide whether the accused needs a bond. He will consider the  current charge(s), any criminal history and his/her ties to the community. Essentially, the judge is determining what amount of money (if any) is required to secure the someones future appearance in court and to protect the community from further criminal violations.

If the judge decides that a bond is necessary, then that bond amount must be posted in order for the individual to be released. That money is kept by the court until the case is resolved, then it will be returned or credited toward any financial obligations/consequences.

The Problem

Most of the time, an attorney is not called until after the Initial Appearance.  When I am hired for cases like this, I work to be either attempt to secure an early release and/or to be present at the hearing to earn a release with little to no consequences - depending on the charge(s) in question.  This affords me the chance to discuss the case with the prosecutor and judge, and provide greater detail about the circumstances of the individuals life (ties to school or work for example). It also helps when I can convince the judge that the his/her parents are involved because this further secures their presence at future court dates.

What Now?

If you are seeking representation for a criminal matter - for you or a family member - Call the Rolloff Law Office, today, at (612) 234-1165. 

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