Saturday, December 15, 2012

Minnesota DWI Bails (Explained)


The term “bail” refers to money in an amount determined by a judge and based on certain facts in a given case that is sometimes one of the conditions of release that an individual facing criminal charges may have placed on him pending his next court appearance in a case.  There are some cases in which the accused is allowed to be released on his own recognizance, meaning he must simply remain law abiding and stay in contact with his Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney and make his or her next court appearance in order to be released.  Almost every cases in Minnesota involve conditions of release and/or bail. 

Minnesota law states that if a bail amount is set as a condition of release - the judge must set two bail amounts, one that is based on the individual keeping other conditions of release – like wearing an alcohol monitor – as well as an amount that is unconditional, and based on the individual not having to maintain any other conditions while released pending his or her next court appearance.  In some cases bail is Mandatory.

Mandatory Bail 

Minnesota Statute Section 169A.44 states that mandatory bail, imposed as either conditions of release plus a lesser amount of bail or as the maximum amount of bail and no conditions, must be imposed in order for a person to be released pending his or her next court appearance if any of the following facts apply to a Drunk Driving offense that is other than a fourth degree DWI; specifically cases where there was a BAC of over 0.20; there was a test refusal; there was a child under 16 present in the vehicle; or the DUI occurred while the person’s license was cancelled as inimical to public safety (IPS).   

Minnesota Statute Section 629.471 outlines the amount of bail that is the maximum a court can impose for any given charged crime in Minnesota.  Basically, this law states that, with a couple exceptions, a person charged with a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor, the maximum amount of bail that can be set is double whatever the highest cash fine that can be imposed for that offense is.  So, if a misdemeanor carries a maximum $1000 fine penalty, the maximum amount of bail that can be set for that offense is $2000. 

There are a few exceptions.  For misdemeanors and gross misdemeanors under Sections 169.09 (hit and run accidents), 169A.20 (DUI/DWI charges), 171.24 subdivision 5 (driving after cancellation, inimical to public safety), or 609.525 (transporting stolen goods into the state), the maximum amount of bail that can be set is four times the maximum cash fine penalty.  Also, for charges of assault, domestic assault, domestic abuse, or malicious punishment of a child, the maximum bail is six times the applicable fine. 

As for felony Drunk Driving charges, Minnesota Statute Section 629.471 specifically states that it does not apply.  The maximum cash fine penalty for a first degree, or felony, DWI is $14,000, according to Section 169A.24.  However, the maximum bail amount that can be set for a felony DWI is $12,000, just like for a gross misdemeanor DUI.  This is the amount the bail would be if there were no conditions of release accompanying the individual’s release pending his or her next court appearance in the case.

Unconditional and Conditional Bail Amounts and Degree of DUI Charge

 Anytime the bail amount imposed is less than the maximum, there will be conditions of release that apply.  If the circumstances in a Drunk Driving case that includes any of the following, the release conditions will almost always include the condition that the person agree to abstain from alcohol and to submit to remote electronic alcohol monitoring (REAM) involving at least daily breath-alcohol measurements.  These circumstances include: 


  • a third implied consent violation is ten years, 
  • a second violation if under age 19, 
  • a violation while cancelled as IPS, or 
  • a violation including a BAC of over 0.20.  


Also, if charged with the fourth or more DWI in a ten year period, a person will face additional conditions such as: impoundment of the vehicle registration plates, or impoundment of the off-road recreational vehicle or motorboat itself, if one was being driven; a requirement for reporting at least weekly to a probation officer, involving random breath alcohol testing and/or urinalysis; and a requirement to reimburse the court for these services upon conviction for the crime.

In sum, if you are charged with a second or first degree DUI/DWI, you will be subject to mandatory bail.  You and your Minnesota Criminal Lawyer will need to decide which combination of conditions of release and bail amount are in your best interests, based on the facts of your individual case and your current life circumstances.  Remember, that while the maximum bail amount applies if there are no conditions on someone’s release, which seems like it would be the most expensive option, sometimes the conditions of release that accompany the lower bail amount are more expensive – for example, the alco-sensor anklet can end up costing more over the course of the several months the criminal case takes to be resolved than posting the maximum bail amount may cost.


Getting your Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney involved as early on in your case as you can is the best thing you can do to protect your rights and ensure that if there are applicable bail arguments that could help you, those arguments are made at the appropriate time to the court on your behalf. Call the Rolloff Law Office today and get FREE Answers: (612) 234-1165.

1 comment:

  1. Nice breakdown of the different types of bail.

    ReplyDelete